10 Tips For Staying Committed To Your Career Goals

5 minutes

You may be a New Year’s resolutions sceptic, but researchers have proven that goals set around this time of year are more likely to be achieved than resolutions we undertake at any other time of the year!

As the famous saying “new year, new job” goes, research also shows that the decision to change jobs is one of the most common resolutions that people make every New Year’s Eve (even more popular than joining the gym!). So, if you’ve been thinking about making a change lately, now is the time to set yourself up for success in the new year.

Here are my top 10 tips for staying committed to your goals:

  1. Your career resolutions should be specific, measurable and realistic - while ambitious goals are good, they’re not always achievable so make sure you set yourself up to succeed by making your goals achievable in the timeframe you set.

  2. It’s important not to make them when you’re intoxicated, stressed, or feeling particularly emotional (all common states around this time of year).

  3. You need a clear head - think about what you want to change, but also consider whether it is achievable. Do you need more money? Do you want to expand your skill set? Will you need to upskill for your next role and how long will this take? Are you looking for management opportunities that you currently don’t have?

  4. Plan your change step by step – making changes to your career is easier when you break them down into more actionable chunks. List what you need to do to get to your goal and get started one step at a time.

  5. Formulate your decision constructively - instead of thinking “I will quit my job because I’m unhappy” you need to be more specific if you want to succeed. An example of a better resolution might be: “I will find a better-paid job as a DevOps Engineer where I will use modern technologies like Kubernetes”.

  6. Prepare your CV and tailor it to each opportunity you’re applying to, check what’s going on in your industry’s job market, decide what type of role would excite you, search in the right places, get ready for potential interviews and most importantly give it your all! A half-hearted approach to your job searches rarely ends successfully.

  7. Focus on what it is you want and forget the rest – it’s easy to get carried away at the applying stage but don’t fall for the temptation to apply for jobs you don’t have the skills for or that don’t get you revved up. Your time is too valuable to be wasted like this. Recruiters will also wonder about your focus if you apply to multiple roles that aren’t related and will be cautious about working with you.

  8. Don’t panic if you don’t hear back from a recruiter right away about your application. Giving them a call will set you apart from other applicants and speedier feedback. Be smart with your planning; it’s important to stick at it and have a strategy that won’t burn you out.  Stay confident in your own abilities and don’t give up.

  9. Keep track of your applications – working with a single recruiter makes this much easier. There is nothing worse that not having a clue which roles you’ve applied to when you receive a phone call from a recruiter. It’s all about first impressions!

  10. Finally remember to reward yourself for even the smallest successes that arise on your way to finding your new dream job!

In other words, don’t be like Kevin:

Kevin does not like his job as a DevOps Engineer in a small town in Northern England. His boss irritates him, he works with old technologies and all his ideas for improvements are rejected.

As his New Year's resolution, Kevin decides that he wants to work in a better-paid job in the centre of London. He starts sending his CV to every company that he thinks might be interested in hiring him. Even though he wants to be a DevOps Engineer, he decides to maximise his chances of finding a new position by applying for nearly every job that he sees advertised.

During stage one interviews, he finds that he can’t always remember where he applied, which role they’re talking about and what specific skills the role requires. The interviewers are not impressed, and they all reject him without having had a face to face meeting.

By the end of January, Kevin has become frustrated with job hunting. He’s exhausted from the effort of applying for new positions whilst simultaneously working full-time. He gives up and decides to stay in the job where he feels underappreciated.  But what if he had made a better plan before he started looking for new positions? What if he had only applied for a small number of jobs that really interested him, and had given his all to the interview process? Perhaps he would still have had some rejections (that’s an unfortunate reality of looking for jobs). But the process would not have been so draining on him. He would have been more likely to get through the first stage to face to face interviews. And whilst it might not have happened immediately, the odds would have been on his side in the medium-term.