Although we are only about halfway through the month, for many of us, once December arrives, it marks the end of our career planning for the year. Whether you are in a job search, trying to advance in your current role, or changing careers, you may feel that December will not be a useful time for achieving your goals. Overwhelmed by gift shopping, holiday parties, and managing end of the quarter work issues, it is understandable that you would want to reset and start fresh in the new year. But, I would strongly suggest that it would be a missed opportunity to do so. The following are some strategies to make these remaining days of the month matter, as it pertains to your career advancement:
1) Continue to explore job options-
while many companies do go into holiday mode, and slow down on their hiring, it doesn’t mean that you should do the same. There are still opportunities for you to network with key stakeholders and to use the hidden job market to find out about upcoming roles in the new year. Further, many organizations are still moving forward in their hiring process, and you don’t want to miss being in the mix. So it may benefit you to continue to reach out to contacts and plan to connect in December or at the beginning of the new year. Sometimes clients say, “No one will want to meet now, so I will reach out at the start of the year.” I counter by encouraging them to reach out now, and even if someone can’t meet in December, you can secure a meeting for January, which ensures that you keep your career momentum going. And sometimes, you might be surprised that some individuals may be open to meeting before the year ends. You won’t know unless you contact them today!
2) Attend and leverage holiday parties–
many of my clients, especially my introverted ones, prefer to skip the holiday party season, viewing it as a waste of time. However, it always advocate for them to go to every holiday party he or she possibly can. Whether it is your office party, a professional association holiday mixer, or a family gathering, take advantage of the chance to socialize with different people, to talk to them about your career goals, and to raise your visibility within your own firm or industry. Don’t take it for granted that holiday parties can be a time to advance your career. I have had many experiences of securing business or deepening relationships for my career by engaging with various network contacts at holiday parties. If you do attend, plan accordingly and think about individuals with whom you would like to connect, and spend an adequate amount of time at the party to increase your reach. While it may be a stretch for you, and can be an anxiety provoking, energy draining experience, it will be worth your while, if you are strategic about it.
3) Evaluate your goals for the year and plan for 2019–
now is the perfect time to assess your progress on the goals you set at the beginning of the year. How well did you do? What factors enabled you to be successful? What barriers prevented you from achieving some of your goals? What do you need to do differently in 2019? What new goals are you planning? By evaluating your goals for 2018, you can appropriately plan your new ones, and make sure you hit the ground running in 2019.
4) Voice your progress and seek support–
if you feel like you are losing steam, make sure to reach out to trusted contacts, whether they are friends, family members, or colleagues. Tell them your plans and ask them to hold you accountable, by checking in on your progress. We all need a nudge now and then, especially during this period, where we may just want to cruise or to take a break. Having support is so critical when we may not feel able to carry the load alone. Many marathon runners talk about how when they hit that fatigue wall, it is seeing supporters cheering them on that helps them to finish. Therefore, you can benefit from having your supporters assist you in finishing your career marathon for the year.
December can feel like a blur of holiday planning and wrapping up business for the year. However, you should still leverage the time you have left in the month to sustain your career momentum. By following these strategies you can make sure you are entering 2019 with a growth mindset, ready to build on your successes from this year.