With the start of the New Year, many of us may have considered making career-related resolutions. For some, you are hoping to enter into the year with a renewed promise to your current position; possessing hopes for a productive, successful, and enjoyable 2013. For others, you have made the commitment to take a positive step forward and make a change – be it a switch to a new organization, or a complete career change.  The New Year is the perfect time to evaluate and assess your goals for the months to come. Here are our Tips for 2013.

For Those Who Wish to Continue with Your Current Firm:

TRAK Tips for 2013
1) Become a Better Employee:
Use In-Office Time Wisely Are you someone who spends extra amounts of time with personal things at work (Facebooking, scheduling hair cuts or doctor’s appointments)? This is something that can, at times, be seen as an unproductive use of working business hours and can breed feelings of hostility between co-workers and can portray you in a negative light to a supervisor.

Stay Positive! Ever get sick of that one person in the office who is constantly complaining about something, or everything? Be sure that you are someone who promotes an upbeat atmosphere and tries to consider things in a positive light, not one who brings the group down.

Say Hello. It doesn’t hurt to take a minute say hi to or ask the people you walk past in the morning how their holiday was. If there is someone in your office you don’t really know, and with whom you have really meant to go grab lunch or a cup of coffee – do it! The more connected you feel to your co-workers, the happier you’ll be going to work every day.

2) Outline S.M.A.R.T. Goals:
Write out an annual plan to design a road map for what you would like to accomplish in the upcoming year. This helps to ensure productivity. These are goals that you can set personally or that can be designed with your manager. They should be Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. The best way to keep on track with your plan is to have a concrete idea of how to get there. Check out this website for more: http://topachievement.com/smart.html

3) Focus on your strengths and don’t obsess over the weaknesses!
We live in a culture in which we are always trying to change what we aren’t good at doing – think of how much more productive you could be if you would take on more of what you’re really great at doing at work. When extra projects or opportunities in those areas arise, try to capitalize on them to showcase your skills.

4) Use and Continue to Build Your Network!
Sometimes in Washington, DC one of the most useful tools in your arsenal is knowing who to go to with questions. Be sure to keep in contact with the people from other organizations with whom you have interacted – make it not just purely business but a mutually beneficial relationship. Take a few extra seconds on a call or in an email to get to know who you are working with so that you can continue the relationship after the project.

TRAK Tips for 2013

For Those Who Wish to Make a Change:

1) Evaluate What You Want to Do:
Before starting to haphazardly apply to any job opening that you see, think about what is motivating you to make a change and where you’d like to see yourself going with your career.  There certainly must be valid reasons for wanting to make a switch, so before jumping ship with your current role or making a new commitment, spend time considering where you would like to be and what you would like to do. This prevents having to start the job search process again shortly after making a change.

2) Identify Potential New Employers for Which You Would Like to Work:
Do your research and compile a list of kinds of organizations and kinds of jobs for which you’d like to see yourself working so that you can begin a targeted and focused job search.

3) Update Your Resume and Cover Letters:
Before you can entertain the idea of applying for new positions ensure that your resume is totally up-to-date and that cover letters are tailored specifically to jobs for which you will be applying.  It is always helpful to have a trusted friend or family member proofread these documents to ensure proper spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting.

4) Notify References:
It’s always useful to speak with a trusted previous supervisor who can serve as a confidential reference and who can accurately speak to your experiences and skill level. Typically new employers will conduct at least one and usually two to three supervisory reference checks, so ensure these people are prepared and not taken off guard should a phone call or email from a potential employer come up.

5) Apply Realistically:
The best way to have a successful search is to have realistic expectations about the change you want to make. This way you are both well prepared for the position you will be transitioning into, and also setting your search up for success. There is nothing wrong with applying for jobs outside of your job experience, but be sure to be mindful and realistic when applying for openings with specific experience requirements.

6)   Network, Network, Network!
Is there a speaker in town discussing a topic related to your search, is there a gallery opening, or a happy hour where you could meet people in your field? Sometimes the best way to get “in” with a new firm is to get to know more people in the practice area.

7)  Keep Up the Good Work in Your Current Position!
Landing the next perfect job is not something that often happens overnight. So in the interim take care not to burn bridges with current employers or set off red flags. New employers want to hire employees who are in good standing with their current job. If you aren’t working currently that’s okay too. Pick up a part-time job or consider temporary work to keep busy and have current references.

TRAK is a leader in the fields of recruiting and staffing in the DC area and hopefully you have gotten to know us through last year’s posts. We have spent more than 30 years building relationships to assist candidates and clients with their staffing needs, and have been an integral part of placing countless people in successful careers! Our team of recruiters works directly with job-seekers to assist with their searches and guide them through the process. If you are interested in gaining additional support with your job search and are a candidate for the types of positions we specialize in, please feel free to contact us!

This year another recruiter on the TRAK team, Sarah Glenn, is joining Cloture Club as a contributor! Both Sarahs will continue creating job-search and career related posts but we are also making a major change. We want to hear from you, our readers, this year! Cloture Club has created a forum where you can ask questions and we will answer them in our bi-weekly posts!

We want to hear from you!

Our next topic of the year will be networking, so fill out our forum below and tell us what you want to know about reaching out and expanding your network! We will respond to FAQs in our next posting!

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