The week between Christmas and New Years is a slow period around many offices, and you should use the downtime to your advantage by putting some serious thought into where your career has landed this year, as well as where you want to go in the future.
Your first step is to take a fresh look at previous goals.
These can be performance goals you set with your manager or goals you set on your own at the end of last year. Note if you were able to achieve these goals or if ongoing work is required. Assess whether all of the goals are still valid or if any should be changed in anticipation of the new year.
A related activity is to document contributions made to your organization. Quantify, as specifically as possible, how your actions impacted the company’s bottom line, and why the company is better off because you work there. Also, brainstorm transferable skills — or skills that cut across a wide variety of roles and industries (project management, client relations, sales, marketing, finance) — that you mastered or honed this year. Update your resumé and online profiles with this new information.
Then, think about the next phase of your career. What would you like to learn in 2012, and what type of work would you like to focus on? Where would you like your career to be in five years, and how can you get there most efficiently? As you consider these issues, tap your manager or a trusted mentor for feedback.
Finally, congratulate yourself on a job well done. This was not the easiest year for workers, and you are still standing!