One thing I’m always focusing on is furthering my career. It’s something I think about daily as I’m making my to-do list and more broadly as I’m working on projects and long-term plans. Because if you’re not working to further your career, then what’s the point? If you need motivation heading into the new year, here are 10 ways to further your own career in 2021.
+ Clean up your desk
Whether you’re working from home or are in a corporate setting, a clean office area is key. When my desk is a mess, it hinders my creativity, makes me feel distracted, not to mention stressed, and does nothing positive for my working environment. It’s an easy first step to make, too. Either give your desk area a quick cleanup or if it needs one, give it a complete facelift. I’ll drop some of my favorite office items here:
+ Envision your dream situation
I won’t say the word ‘manifesting’ because that sounds too woo-woo but I do believe in the power of thought. Because if you can’t envision your dream situation, it’s hard to know what you’re working towards. Take time to envision what your ‘dream’ career would look like. What industry? Are you being creative or more analytical? Are you traveling? Working from home? Hustling long hours or lots of flexibility? Is it in a group setting or do you want to work solo? And so on.
+ Make a playlist
If you’re like me, the entire office vibe plays a role in how productive you are. After a clean desk, one other thing I’m crazy about is the right playlist. I need a few actually: one for intense focus (like jazz or classical), something uplifting for mornings when I’m not motivated, etc. It sounds small but it’s one detail that can help boost your productivity (aka further your career) if you’re lacking…or if you work with a loud husband that you need to drain out LOL. Noisli is also a cool site that mimics a coffee shop, the outdoors, rain…or whatever makes you get sh*t done.
+ Send that email
Or DM or text message…whatever. You know that person you’ve been wanting to reach out to about mentoring or for advice? Contact them in 2021! Just be respectful and to the point. And if they don’t respond, move on to another option or find another way to network.
+ Consider a completely new industry
I get a million DMs of people saying they’d love to step into the influencer field but aren’t sure where to start. And I know changing careers is a hot topic in the FB Group, especially in 2020 as people started questioning everything. I actually had a team member of mine write How to Land a Job In an Industry Where You Have No Experience and it should help! All I can say is, if you don’t like your work situation, CHANGE THAT SH*T UP! Life is too short to hate what you do every day. More on why I don’t believe in settling here and here.
+ Daydream and then plan
Similar to envisioning your dream situation, I’m all for a good Pinterest session. This is especially helpful if you’re a visual person. After you envision your dream situation, put it into a 2021 CAREER mood board on Pinterest. From there, I suggest making a plan from it – because a daydream only goes so far. Buy a planner and start bringing your mood board to life. What steps will you need to take to get there? Start small but be VERY detailed on the list. Then plug those tasks into your planner / calendar so you have a complete game plan for 2021. These will help:
+ Clean up your resume + cover letter
Honestly, I haven’t created a resume in forever so I’m not full of advice here though I know there are a ton of resources out there, including professional resume writers. While I think you can handle it on your own, if you’re totally stuck, that’s a good avenue to explore. Here’s my resume advice:
+ Keep it short and sweet. I don’t have time for 3 pages of bullets. I also don’t care about everything you did in college and what you did in your sorority UNLESS it has to do with the job or it’s your only source of experience. (If you’re applying to be a doctor or some shit, this obviously matters more.)
+ Consider the role and apply your experience directly to what they are looking for. Pull out keywords from the job description and use those in your resume as you list out your experience (without lying obviously). There are always ways to make your own knowledge sound more enticing lined up to the job description – you just have to be thoughtful!
+ Make it unique. I like it when a resume has a bit of personality, and this is especially important if your job has to do with aesthetics or creativity. Just don’t go overboard; your experience should still be easy to scan.
+ Cater your cover letter to the role. I will literally not read a cover letter if I know it’s been copy and pasted from job listing to job listing. It’s worth the extra 30 minutes to make it unique to the company / role you’re applying for. Don’t be lazy here.
+ Always be learning
This is something I’m wanting to do more of in 2021 myself. With endless online opportunities to teach ourselves something, we should always be improving to further our careers. It could be an online class, learning a new skill like Photoshop or Excel, or even freshening up on something we learned in high school (like grammar).
+ Find a morning office routine
I definitely believe that how you start your morning (once you get into the office) sets the tone for your workday. From sitting down at a clean desk, turning on a vibey playlist, and then having a routine, there’s importance in your routine. I personally like to look at emails to see any emergency issues and then make my to-do list from that. Once my list is complete, I jump into one thing I’m NOT looking forward to. That way I already have my plan set and I’ve accomplished the hardest part of my day by 10 a.m.
+ Question everything
Probably the most important tip on the list and one I think about every day. “Will this further my career?” is what I apply to all tasks, all projects, and all work decisions. I know it’s easier when it’s your own business, but the point is that MOST of your tasks and energy should be going to furthering your career. Don’t get weighed down by busy work and bullsh*t that’s not actually moving the needle. And make sure that you’re doing something EVERY DAMN DAY to further your career!