By Joni Lindquist

Don’t just let your career happen.  Own your career and be proactive in managing it.  During the cold winter months, now’s great time to implement these three career goals, no matter where you are in your career:

  1. Complete your career SWOT – find some quiet time and fill out an analysis:
  • S = Strengths
  • W = Weaknesses
  • O = Opportunities
  • T = Threats

Be honest with yourself about all aspects.  Where would you like your career to be in 2-3 years?  This may be difficult, but don’t ignore it.  Next, break it down to a two-year view.  I see many clients become paralyzed because they don’t have long term goals.  If you do, great!  If not, it’s still OK to break this down to a two-year view and write down this goal.

Then assess your SWOT in light of where you want to be.  What do you need to do in 2016 to seize opportunities, build upon your strengths, or perhaps minimize your weaknesses?

By doing this exercise, you are using a traditional strategic planning tool – the SWOT, and applying it to your career to build a plan.  This doesn’t have to take hours.  Start your SWOT and come back to it in a few days or a week.  Let your subconscious work on it while you are doing other activities – perhaps walking, working out, cooking, etc.

The end result should be a clearer picture of where you want to go and what you need to do in 2016 to make real career progress.

  1. Update your LinkedIn profile – once your SWOT analysis is complete, update your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has established itself as the business professional’s network. You want to make sure your Linked profile is representative of your accomplishments and your goals. Your profile is likely more important and more widely viewed than your résumé.  With your limited time, focus on LinkedIn rather than your résumé.
  1. Build your network – this is typically very difficult, as most of us are so busy doing our jobs that we may not have time to build strong connections. However, relationships help us get promoted and find new jobs.  Don’t wait until you need a network to build one.  Call people, go to coffee, or grab a quick breakfast.  I suggest setting a goal.  For example, make two relevant connections per month.  This would get you more than 20 connections per year – not much, but it’s a start.  Then grow from there.  One per week would be a more aggressive goal.  Simply start, and then find time to fit in these connections.  This network may enrich your career.

The tradition of New Year’s resolutions can be daunting, especially when it comes to your job.  Hopefully, by following the steps above, you can at least make a start.  The most important lesson is to simply take the first step.  For help on how to build your personal career plan, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: DailyM = Differentieel + JeeeM / / CC BY-NC-SA