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How to fix your job, and improve your outlook in 2007

Surveys show that weight loss and general fitness rank as the most common New Year’s resolutions, but career-oriented goals – whether finding a new job or improving one’s position – may have a deeper impact on day-to-day happiness and well-being, according to one workplace authority.

“At least half of our waking hours are spent on the job and going to and from the job. For those who are unemployed, finding a new position becomes a full-time job, not to mention a cause of full-time stress. It only stands to reason that improving this major component of one’s life can lead to greater overall happiness,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the global outplacement consultancy, which provides job-search counseling to individuals who have lost their jobs.

For many people, however, career-oriented resolutions take a backseat to goals related to health and fitness, personal growth and personal finance.

“The key to succeeding in your resolution, whether it is related to career, health orpersonal finance, is to set specific objectives and reasonable deadlines for achieving them. Instead of making it your goal to find a new job, focus on the smaller steps needed to get that job. For instance, resolve to join a professional association or find other ways to meet 10 new people in your field,” Challenger advised.

“Additionally, it is important to focus on things you can control and act on personally. Resolving to get a promotion requires your employer to take action. Resolving to keep your supervisor regularly updated on your accomplishments and joining a workplace committee are actions that you can take that will help position you for a promotion.”

Workplace New Year’s Resolutions

Start a MySpace page.

More companies are searching the Internet for more information about candidates, so create a professional looking page that tells them you are exceptional. With more than 67 million members, MySpace is also a valuable networking tool.

Meet your boss’s boss.

At the next company event, go out of your way to meet those at least two rungs higher on the corporate ladder. They are the ones who can advance your career.

Remove/Cover tattoos.

While body art is becoming more common and more accepted in some offices, many still find it unprofessional.

Get involved with community service group.

This is a great way to build your network as well as hone your professional skills.

Join a company committee.

Whether it is a committee developing new workplace policies or simply planning the company holiday party, joining or volunteering can help you build relationships with other people in your company whom you might otherwise never meet.

Join a professional/trade association.

These organizations can provide training and education opportunities and most hold several networking functions every year. The dues are worth their weight in gold if you meet a person at an event who can help you find a new job. (Some employers pay for all or part of professional association dues.)

Find and/or become a mentor.

Mentoring and being mentored provide perspectives and new ideas about career goals and how to achieve them.

Attend all after-hours company functions.

Do not skip the company picnic or holiday party, even if attendance is not required. These are excellent opportunities to socialize with others in your organization, including high-level executives.

Go to your high school and college reunions.

When you catch up with former classmates, always keep your career goals in mind. A friend you lost touch with may now be the CEO of a start-up where your skills could be utilized. (Bring a supply of your business cards.)

Meet 10 new people in your field but outside of your company.

Building these relationships may help you in your current position and they will definitely help when you enter the job market.

Be a generalist but become an expert on one facet of your field.

Knowing more than anyone else on a specific issue or topic will help make you the “go-to” person for anyone in the company who has a question on that area. This specialized knowledge makes you extremely valuable and should be covered in your resume.

Update your resume with each new accomplishment.

Many people wait to update their resume until it becomes necessary, usually because of job loss. It can be difficult remembering specific details of accomplishments that will be needed in interviewing. Make it a point to review your resume quarterly, making necessary changes.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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