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Five Top Career Resolutions for the New Year

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Five Top Career Resolutions for the New Year

 Now's the time of year when savvy financial professionals take stock of their careers and create a strategy for professional growth and prosperity in the new year.  Here are smart tactics to ensure you enjoy the career you deserve.

 1. Upgrade: Conduct a personal S.W.O.T. analysis, just as you would for a company you're researching.  In terms of your professional growth, what are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?  Take a candid look at your skills, experience, and credentials as they are today.  Then, figure out a way to enhance your strengths, eliminate your weaknesses, seize your opportunities and overcome your threats.  Write your own plan for professional development, and review your plan quarterly throughout the new year.

2.  Commit: The world of business, including the job market, is changing rapidly (especially since 2008).  Many of the old rules of career success no longer apply.  Continuous learning is the best way to ensure you understand the 21st century job market.  Take classes.  Read widely.  Explore new ideas, even it you don't agree with them.  Also, make sure you are thinking globally - what's happening around the globe will affect your job.  True, the global market is a village, but it's a vast, diverse, fast-changing, interconnected village.  Keeping up with critical issues and emerging trends will help protect you.

Mach Creative

3.  Update: Your resume is updated, right?  If you meet someone at a social function, and he or she asks you to e-mail your resume, you should be ready to do just that in an instant.  Otherwise, you look hesitant, unsure of yourself, complacent, stuck.

4.  Network: As a career communication coach, I tell clients how two social occasions changed my life, from a professional perspective.  Once, at a Sunday brunch, I announced to no one in particular that I was new in town and looking for a great job.  Mission: accomplished.  Another guest arranged an interview for me, and the job was exactly what I needed at the time.  On another occasion, a dinner party, I sat next to a woman who, it turned out, was a professor in the graduate school I happened to be applying to as a PhD candidate.  The next week, she walked across campus, spoke to the head of the department I wanted to work in, and I was admitted to my dream school.  Networking is not a self-serving activity.  It's simply being open-hearted and open-minded.  And, of course, it always pays to help others.  Your generosity will be returned, big time and in many ways.

5.  Celebrate:  For some reason, many analysts I've trained and coached are rather shy about helping others understand what they offer.  Modesty is always admirable, of course, but it's wise to help people understand that you can write hard-hitting, well-researched, reader-friendly reports that add value.  Those are all-too-rare skills.  And today, organizations desperately need people who can produce high-quality content.  They are rare, and, therefore, they have tons of options.

 So, as we hurtle toward the new year, resolve to focus on your career strategically.  It's a tough job market, to be sure, but actively focusing on what it takes to succeed these days will take you far.  Go for it.  

–Susan Mach, PhD

Susan Mach, PhD, is a communication coach, trainer, and strategist. She teaches management communication part time at major NYC-area business schools, and investment research report writing at NYSSA.

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