New Year Career Resolutions

Career resolutions can pay off in both big and small ways.

The New Year is a time-honored season when I reflect on what worked for me in the past and what I want to achieve in the future.

My New Year's resolutions are usually more personal than professional. Exercising more, losing weight, adding more fiber to my diet, and cleaning out my basement are at the top of my list every year—only to be abandoned by mid-February.

Outside of "get a new job," few career resolutions make the cut.

However, this time around, I am keeping the extra slice of mushroom pizza and resolving to make my 2016 list career-centered.

The key to any successful resolution requires goal-setting and an action plan, which can be broken down into smaller chunks.

For example, if 2016 is the year you plan to get a new job, your action plan would include updating your résumé, researching job opportunities, networking, and brushing up on your interview skills.

Accomplishing the individual steps makes the goal more approachable and you more successful.

In the new year, consider adding 2 or 3 of the following career-focused resolutions to your mix. They will pay off in both big and small ways and will not fizzle out like your trips to the gym.

Act on your evaluation. Within the past few weeks you completed your annual performance review with your boss and probably put the paperwork away until next fall.

Take another look at your evaluation. It is the epicenter for your 2016 career resolutions. Write down the goals that were discussed, rank them, and break them down into manageable tasks that can be accomplished throughout the year.

Revise your résumé. You may not be planning on changing positions in 2016, nonetheless, keeping your résumé up to date is important. You will be prepared for any unexpected employment opportunity that may arise and will be able to keep track of your successes in résumé format.

Include a recent promotion or title change, a new competence, and your latest skill set, while removing outdated information.

Remember to also amend your LinkedIn and other social media career profiles.

Organize work-related electronic and paper documents. You may think that you do not have enough time to organize, yet the time you spend in disorganization costs you in productivity.

Your organizational skills in the workplace also speak volumes to your boss and coworkers.

Clear off your workspace with a wastebasket or file folders in hand.

Clean out your e-mail inbox and unsubscribe to unwanted mailing lists, which waste your time hitting the delete key.

Unclutter your Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts because future potential employers may be looking at this information.

Create useful electronic files rather than storing e-mails in your trash file.

Have separate folders for your continuing education (CE), human resource paperwork, current and potential work projects and ideas, memos, and handouts.

Instead of spending time shuffling through piles of paper, you will actually be able to spend time working.

Focus on one of these areas each month, and you will check this resolution off in no time.

Don’t forget to add to or showcase your skill set, too.

Many pharmacists leave their career development up to their current employers. Instead, choose 1 or 2 new skills in 2016 that relate to your long-term career path and then decide how to achieve them.

Earn an online certification to enrich your clinical knowledge or take a business writing course at a local college to enhance your management skills.

Likewise, if you have a current skill that is under-utilized, bring it to the forefront. This could mean using your foreign language skills to speak to patients or your writing skills as a contributor to Pharmacy Times. (Tell them Donna referred you.)

Schedule time to breathe. According to a recent Stanford and Harvard University study, workplace stress is as bad for you as secondhand smoke.

As a pharmacist, you face many demands in the workplace. A heavy workload, time urgency, long hours, and limited control over your work environment all contribute to one's stress level.

Carve out time each day (15 minutes is a good starting point) to walk, run, jog, do yoga, meditate, sing, dance, laugh, read, and breathe mindfully.

Bottom line: find a stress-reducing activity that works for you.

Connect and reconnect. Networking is a great way to discover word-of-mouth job opportunities, reconnect with colleagues, and expand your professional network.

Network with like-minded pharmacists by joining LinkedIn and other social-networking sites.

Locally, add attending a conference, professional meeting, or CE program once a month to your action plan.

All of these tips will help you achieve your 2016 career growth or change resolution.