The Working Woman’s New Year’s Resolutions for 2012

The New Year arrives this weekend and with it will be New Resolutions.   Or maybe your resolutions will be repeats of classics that you make annually.  Does exercise more, eat better, read more, save more money, or learn a new hobby sound familiar?  You are not alone!  I know I will have a repeat in my personal resolutions.

What about making a business resolution this year?  This is often a forgotten aspect of our life when it comes to resolutions.  I thought I would help jumpstart you with a baker’s dozen suggested resolutions that I believe are critical to career management and confidence to successfully negotiate higher salaries.

In 2012 resolve to:

  1. Know the market value of your job.  This knowledge is eye opening and empowering to many women.
  2. Develop a relationship with a mentor.  Having multiple mentors is optimal but aim to get your first this year.  Mentors should be both women and men and work within and outside your company. A good mentor has more experience than you and will advise you as you move through your career.
  3. Develop a relationship with a sponsor.  A sponsor is someone who has clout within your company or industry and will actively recommend and endorse you to others. Like mentors, it’s best to have more than one.
  4. Mentor another woman. Remember to share the wealth as you learn and develop clout of your own.
  5. Think of and communicate your contributions to the company in terms of accomplishments and financial impact.  You need to think like a manager to manage your career. Managers don’t really care about effort.  Their focus is results as should yours.
  6. Network with people in your company who do not work in the same department.  The best advice I got in my first job was to be friendly with the people in accounting because you never know when you will need their help.  I’ve taken that advice a step further.  Become friendly with people in all departments.  Each department has a unique perspective of what’s happening in a company.  Being able to see from these various perspectives is amazingly helpful regardless of what your job is.  Plus you may find a different department is a better fit for your interests and abilities.  Having friends who welcome you to a position within a company is a great plus.
  7. Network with people in your industry.  The issues of your company may or may not be the issues of the industry.  You may work for the best of the best and network to find future employees.  You may discover other companies are better fits for your personality and abilities.  Knowing the big picture and people outside of your company will help keep you stay marketable and ready to change when you want or are forced to look for a change.
  8. Jump on the digital bandwagon and network online.  LinkedIn is the leading online business-networking site.  Create your profile and connect to people you already know.  Then get bold and join a group.  Ask or answer a question.  Then you will be ready to ask people that you want to know to connect with you.  Spend about 15 minutes a week on LinkedIn and  you will soon find yourself using it time and time again to find a new partner, employee, vendor, advisor, and/or employer.
  9. Accept praise from management.  If you don’t already, learn to just say “thank you” when someone gives you praise.  Do not diminish the praise by downplaying your accomplishment.    How can you later play up the same accomplishments to get a raise if you continually downplay them when management gives you a “Atta Girl”?
  10. Know what you want the next step in you career to be.  We all need to grow and change things from time to time.  Regardless what your job is today, it will most likely not be the same job in 3-5 years.  Start thinking about what you would like to do next.  Thinking about it sooner than later helps you think about what you need to do to get to the next stage of your career.
  11. Tell management what you want the next step of your career to be.  Just as important as you knowing what you want to do next is to let management know.  They can help you accomplish the next move within the company.
  12. Negotiate your next starting salary or raise.  You are underpaid if you did not negotiate your salary so next time start to rectify the problem by negotiating your salary.
  13. Be nicer to yourself.  There is a tendency for many people to be their own worst critic.  Try to cut yourself some slack this year.  Allow yourself to make mistakes.  Learn from them but don’t beat yourself up after a mistake.

Each of the resolutions will take time to accomplish and will have missteps along the way.  Should you decide to undertake any of these, be kind to yourself as you work through it.  The goal of all these resolutions is not to make a perfect you.  It’s to improve your well being in the work world.

Happy New Year and Happy Career!