Careers Resolutions: plans for 2011

A new year often leads us to make plans to change or develop aspects of our lives and career planning should be no exception. Now is a good time to make an audit considering where you are now and what you want to achieve in the coming year. Here are some important issues to consider.

1. Are you happy/fulfilled in your current job?

If the answer to this is no, then you it’s important to do something about it. We spend so much of our time at work that it is simply not worth ploughing on while being miserable. If you are unhappy, what makes you so. Is it the role? Your responsibilities? Your colleagues? Your boss? Is the situation so bad that you will need to leave and move to another company/institution or can it be fixed where you are?

If you are happy in your current job, that is great news but it is important not to remain static. Use 2011 to build your CV, to work towards a promotion or to develop new skills. Just because you are not actively looking for work right now does not mean that you won’t have to in the near future or that you should stop improving your career prospects.

2. Improving my profile in the job market (now or in the future)

Whether you’re on the market right now or just planning ahead, take a look at your CV and see whether you need to build on any particular area. Perhaps if you have been in the same job for a while, the first step is to actually write a new CV! You should have a ‘live’ document available at your fingertips at all times, even if you are not currently applying for new jobs.

Once this is done, take a look at the range of skills, knowledge and experience you display. Is this commensurate in all areas with someone who has held a job for the time that you have? If not, then it’s time to plan how to fill those gaps. Do you need extra training? Is there a project you could become involved in to learn ‘on the job’?

3. Use mentoring and networking

In order to help you improve your career chances, you need to use the expertise of those around you. If you are already in a job, use your mentor and internal personal development systems to find out how you can fill your CV gaps. If you are job hunting, make sure you network at every opportunity. Advice and support from others with expertise in your field could make 2011 your year!


About Catherine Armstrong

Dr Catherine Armstrong is a Senior Lecturer in History at Manchester Metropolitan University, specialising in North American History. She is a former teaching fellow in History at the University of Warwick and Oxford Brookes University. Catherine was also Director of Historical Studies in the Open Studies department at the University of Warwick. Her first book ‘Writing North America in the Seventeenth Century’ was published by Ashgate in June 2007. As a long-time jobseeker for an academic role herself, Catherine is in a unique position to understand and offer her knowledge and experience to those developing an academic career.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *