Make 2015 a fabulous year for your career

Credit: lassedesignen / Shuterstock

At the start of the new year, more than half of Canadians make New Year’s resolutions. While many resolve to get rid of something like cigarettes, alcohol, or extra weight, others resolve to get something better.

“Get a better job” is number 5 on a list of Popular New Year’s Resolutions according to the U.S. government’s website.

“The start of a new year provides an opportunity to take stock of one’s career and outline steps for advancing to the next level,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies.

Accountemps offers the following suggestions for career resolutions:

  • Go back to school. Commit to expanding your technical knowledge by learning a new software application or attaining a professional certification.
  • Don’t forget the “soft” skills. Being a strong communicator and working well with others are pivotal in team settings. Focus on developing your interpersonal skills; if communication is not your strong suit, consider a writing or public speaking course.
  • Start fresh. Settle any past misunderstandings with supervisors or colleagues, and take the lead in improving these relationships in the new year.
  • Remember “auld” acquaintances. Reach out to members of your professional network with whom you have lost touch. These contacts are valuable resources and renewing old ties can lead to new business or career opportunities.

Defining your goals

No matter what goals you have for 2015, putting your goals in writing can help you make your dreams a reality.

Often we know “what” to do, but we’re not sure of “how” to do it. You can start brainstorming some ideas by preparing a goal worksheet with the following information, courtesy of

  • Statement of goal: Must be specific, measurable, stated positively and simply. Remember to think big.
  • Priority: How does this goal rank compared to your other goals? Is your career goal #1, #2, #3, etc.
  • Term of goal: Short (within 3 months), medium (within 3 years), or long-term (over 3 years)
  • Life area: In addition to using this goal worksheet for your career goal, you can create separate worksheets for your goals in other areas of life, so indicate if the life area is: career, financial, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, family and friends, community, etc.
  • Target date: This is the date the goal will be accomplished.
  • Obstacles: What currently and potentially stands between you and this goal? Include both tangible and intangible obstacles such as lack of money, time, support, or education, fear, etc.
  • Solutions: How will you overcome the obstacles? Include both tangible and intangible resources you can use to help you pursue your goal, such as self-confidence, support from other people, education, time, money, etc.
  • Action steps to achieve it: Break your goal down into smaller tasks. Remember to include steps for handling obstacles.
  • Target date for step: It may help to work backwards from your target goal date.
  • Reward for completing step: It is important to give yourself the positive reinforcement of rewards. You can do this for each step or for selected steps.
  • Is it worth it to me? Are you really willing to do what it takes to achieve this goal?
  • What achieving this goal will mean to me: How will achieving this goal benefit you? Include any benefits for your family, the other people in your life, and the community.

If you think that you’re not the type of person who can achieve a career goal, think again. You have set and achieved thousands of goals in your life. In fact, every day of your life you are setting and achieving goals. If you doubt this, just think about what you do during a typical day.

Do you sleep until sometime in the afternoon, then get up and wander around your home until it’s time to go back to sleep again? No, you have goals and you have plans. You decide what you’ll eat, where you’ll go, and what you’ll do – and you do it.

All day long you make decisions and take actions. You envision a goal and you achieve it. If you change your mind, you are essentially setting a new goal to achieve.

Using the same basic techniques, you have probably also set and achieved some more important life goals as well such as completing a course or being hired for a job.

Where you are right now in your life is a direct result of all the thousands of goals, both large and small, that you have set for yourself and achieved so far. You know how to make things happen and achieve your goals.

So whether you are dreaming of a getting a raise, a promotion, or a new career, set a goal to make it happen in 2015.

Tag Goulet is co-founder of and Academic Director of the International Association of Professions Career College which offers certificates for dream careers online at