“Get a better job” is a very common New Year’s resolution, but it’s also a tough one to get started—especially if winter laziness sets in. It’s not like going to the gym, where you can physically get up and go somewhere and call it a success, even if it's only one time a week. You need to put in a ton of work beforehand and change the way you approach the world around you.
Here are 5 steps to get you started on the path to a new and better job.
1. Come up with a plan.
Before you start browsing job sites, think about what you’re seeking. Do you want to stay in the same industry? Are you looking for the same kind of job, but for more money? What does the next step up look like for you? Are you ready for a step up? Think about what it is you really want in your new job. If you just kind of jump in without having a set plan or timelines around your job search goals, it will be easy to abandon the whole thing if you don’t get results right away.
2. Ask for it.
If you’re seeking a promotion, you’re far more likely to get it if you ask for it. Some companies give unasked-for promotions as a matter of course, but you’re much more likely to be successful if you say, “Hey, I’m here, I’ve accomplished these things, and I’m ready for more.” This is where an elevator pitch comes in handy as you prepare to talk to your boss. You want to be able to clearly and efficiently lay out the reasons why you deserve a better title and more responsibilities.
3. Be open to different kinds of opportunities.
Online search engines and other traditional job hunt tools are great assets to have—but don’t forget the human assets at your disposal. A lot of hiring is done because someone knows someone else who would be a good fit for that new job opening. And that means there are job opportunities out there that never see the light of day (or the search engine). Make sure your network is ever growing, and in good working order.
4. Rebuild your application package.
If you’re thinking about dusting off your old resume, maybe doing some find-and-replace on the dates, and sending it out, think again. If you want a better job you need a stepped-up resume game. That means creating a new resume masterpiece from scratch, with careful consideration about what you should be including, and how it reflects your career now.
5. Build your skills.
While you’re looking, this is a good chance to build up some of those resume-enhancing skills, like mastering particular kinds of software. This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school, but there are lots of online courses and resources that can help you build professional skills on your own schedule and at your own pace.
Getting a better job is a great and attainable goal to have. Putting a plan and energy behind it is the best way to ensure that you won’t be sitting in the same place this time next year, thinking, “Man, I really need a new job.”