I love fresh starts. Mondays are my favorite day of the week! So a new year is like crack to me. I love it, love it, love it. I start planning my resolutions months in advance, plan broad goals for the year, track what books I’m going to read, the works. But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that not all resolutions are made equal. For one, they need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.) But part of that R–relevant–is picking resolutions and goals related to where you are in life. Sure, everyone can aspire to hit the gym more or read more books, but the resolutions for a high school senior and a mom of three should be different. 

Today, let’s look at five resolutions that might best serve career women, especially early in their careers. 

Ask for a raise

One of the biggest things I hear from young women in their careers is that they are afraid to ask for a raise, even if they know they deserve one. Promise yourself that you’re going to ask for a raise after your annual review this year, or after you complete a major project. Spend some time documenting your progress and your work and set a deadline–before December 31st. You can also research what others in your field are making. Learn what is and isn’t reasonable when asking for a raise. You should also decide if staying with that position is worthwhile for you if you don’t get the raise you think you deserve. 

Attend a professional conference or event in your field

Networking is important, but so is professional growth, so why not combine the two? Most companies will give you paid time off for a professional conference or event or even pay your registration fee, so take advantage of that. Look at the calendar for the years, ask around about events, and keep an open mind. Then, show up, put on your game face, pass out some business cards, and learn learn learn. Getting your name and face out there and talking in person with others in your field can go a long way towards helping you earn that aforementioned raise too.

Take on a mentor-ship role

Even if you’re young, you can still be a mentor. Mentor-ship is usually a two way street, and interacting with people new to your field or interested in your field can not only help you grow as a leader but also change the way you talk about and engage with your own role. Mentor-ship can come in all shapes and sizes and usually results from networking. Yes, you should of course find your own mentor if that’s a possibility, but you can also grow by being a mentor and talking about what you’ve learned so far. 

Overhaul your resume

Even if you’re not on the market for a new job, you never know what the new year will bring. Especially if you’ve been in your current role for over a year, you should overhaul your resume, focusing it on the experiences you’ve had specifically in your field and going into more detail about your success at your current job. Also make sure you’re LinkedIn is up to date with the same information, professional affiliations, and a good picture. 

Enroll in a professional development opportunity

Professional development is my jam. We live in a highly digital world where you can grow professionally from a phone or computer. Think about the gaps in your knowledge or your long term goals and what sort of course work can help you get there. It doesn’t have to be a new degree, though. It could be a Coursera or Universal Class in Excel 2019 or writing business plans or grammar or American history. The opportunities are endless, honestly, and usually free. Look at a local community college or your public library if you’re not sure where to start.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member