National Career Development Month gives us the opportunity every year to practice a little bit of career self care.
November is really a good time of year for reflection. Why? We are edging closer to the end of the year and if you haven’t done anything to move your own career forward this year, you know there is still time.
If you have ever read my blogs, you know I love lists and so this career development month, I felt called to do a list of 30 career self care tips. As with all my lists, you don’t need to do everything. Just find two or three items in the list that speak to you directly and take action.
Career Self Care Tips to Launch you into 2020
1. Make a list of three things you love about your work. Celebrate those. Are you doing more of the things you love than the things you hate at work?
2. Make a list of three things you hate about your work. Make a plan by year-end to eliminate them. Job descriptions change all the time and sometimes you can negotiate away the parts of your work that kills you.
3. Identify what you learned from your most impressive project this year. What new job skills did you master? Do you want to do more of that kind of work? Can you do it where you are?
4. Which of your projects failed or did not do so well? Why? What could you have done to improve the outcome. What did you learn about yourself?
5. Find a good career book that was published this year. Sign up for Audible if you know the book is going to become a new paper weight. Listen during your break and you could finish it before year end.
6. Recall the way you felt when you started working in your current organization or current role. Do you feel better or worse than you did on your first day? What does the response mean to you? Do you still feel valued there?
7. Sign up for a training program to get some new job skills early next year. Pay for it now, put it in your calendar and make the commitment to complete it. Get a colleague to sign up for the same class with you. An accountability partner is a good way to make progress.
8. Evaluate your Career Advisory Board right now. Who is in that CAB with you? Do you need some new members? Do you have mentors or sponsors in your CAB? Do they know where you are going? What’s in it for them?
9. Join a new professional association. I get it. We all join the big ones, but there are smaller organizations where you might have a voice and an opportunity for volunteering.
10. Explore what is happening at the fringes of your profession. Remember that innovation happens on the edges, where disciplines bleed into each other. What’s on the horizon for your profession?
11. Are you into podcasts? Well get into one. Find one that works for you.
12. Career self care doesn’t happen without physical and mental self care. Move away from your desk. Take walks. Check out of social media.
13. Are you thinking about a new field or making a career change? Do an informational interview. Connect with someone on LinkedIn or Twitter and ask for some time for a conversation. Be courteous and mindful of people’s time. Do not ask for a job!
14. Check out a description of your job role on O’NET. Do you have the latest job skills required for success in your profession? How will automation impact your current role? What career path could have a brighter outlook than the one you have now?
15. Take a career assessment so you can learn about your Real V.I.S.A. Career self care demands that you fully understand your values, interests, skills and abilities.
16. Should your elevator speech change? How would you introduce yourself now that you are who you are or where you are? Change it up if you need to do that. Don’t forget to add any emerging interest that is igniting your curiosity.
17. Connect with your alma mater through the alumni office. Ask about being a mentor. Career self care should involve giving back.
18. Join a local community group. We spend a lot of time in global conversations via social media but forget about our local communities.
19. Find two or three career self care blogs you like. Subscribe. Start one if you can’t find one.
20. Do you use a career journal? Start one if you don’t. Make notes about projects you think you would find interesting or journal your feelings about where you are and where you want to be.
21. When was the last time you set a personal career goal? I mean a SMART career goal. One that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound. Now is the time to do that. Set both a short term and a long term goal and put a plan in place to reach them.
22. Have you looked at your resume lately? This is a great month to do that. Does it still show the best of you? Are there new things to add? Are there things to delete? If your resume is not representing your current value, then it needs your attention.
23. Career self care is about gratitude. Reach out and thank someone for pouring energy into you and validating your work and expertise.
24. Are you carrying around a career fear? Something you know that is blocking your progress but that you haven’t done anything about? Public speaking skills, writing skills, networking skills, promotion fear? Whatever it is – this is the month to tackle it.
25. What is your ideal work situation? Spend time this month defining 10 characteristics of what that would look like. How many of those characteristics match your current work? Create a plan to fill the gaps.
26. Do you have a Kudos File? What’s in it? Where do you log those positive statements about your progress? Your Kudos file is where you will find new content for your resume and stories for your next job interview.
27. Invest in career self care by hiring a Career Coach. It doesn’t need to become a long term relationship, just an opportunity for honest, unbiased feedback.
28. Reflect on what you thought your career or work would look like at the end of 2019. Did you get there? What’s missing? There is still time in the year to step towards your goal. If you didn’t set personal career goals for 2019, now is the time to set them for 2020.
29. How did your last performance conversation go with your boss? Did you leave that conversation feeling that you received authentic feedback? Did you set goals? If you don’t have a boss, how do you measure your contribution? Who is giving you authentic feedback?
30. Are you fully owning where you are? Do you have a list of things to blame or a list of things to conquer? The list where you choose to spend most of your time is completely up to you!
I will end the way I started this list – November is a good time for reflection. Just remember that career self care will require honest self evaluation. Happy to hear from you if you want to share a personal career self care tip.
Make November count!
Dr. Marcia F. Robinson is an award-winning, senior certified Human Resources professional and Chief Engagement Officer at RayeMartinGroup.com. She writes and trains on career management, entrepreneurship, higher education, leadership, automation, human resources and the future of work. Marcia founded TheHBCUCareerCenter.com to support the career and professional development of the diverse communities educated and influenced by America’s 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Her current research interests lie in how automation and Algorithm-Based-Hiring will impact employment, work redesign and workplace experiences particularly for underrepresented minority groups. Connect with her on Twitter at @MarciaFRobinson.