Apparently this past week (around the 15th of January) is when those promises you’ve made of a new fitness regime and eating more healthily flounder under the weight of the daily grind. That’s two weeks into 2019 and most New Year resolutions are forgotten or broken. For me that’s quite a long time! But what about those broader resolutions like looking for a new job and broadening your freelance portfolio? These promises won’t be broken yet but have you taken the first steps to achieve them?
It’s completely logical that the start of a new year means we evaluate things and pledge to do something differently or make changes in our life. As humans we behave in relation to the calendar and the feel of each season. Nothing is different from the 31st December to 1st January but it’s a punctuation and a chance to reboot. We often return to work after a week or more and because of Christmas that break can seem much longer. So why not use this as a time to give things a review. But as the experts advise do not start 2019 by setting unrealistic goals.
Alok Trivedi, who studies human behaviour and psychological performance, thinks deferring any resolution to one point of the year is dangerous. “Thinking you’re going to make a magical change come the New Year is delusional thinking, gives you more time to indulge in the bad behavior and digs a deeper hole. If you’re really serious about making a change, start right now, this very second.”
Trivedi is talking about diet and fitness regimes of course, so using the new year as a natural point of review is OK. Just set some realistic targets – rather than big changes too soon. It’s much better to set smaller objectives and do things step by step. Get your CV right by the end of February; make sure you know the types of jobs you want to apply for by Easter; apply for half a dozen roles before your summer holiday; get an interview before autumn; have a new job by Christmas 2019.
If you’re a student or just graduated you might also need to think about the types of role you go for. A recent Twitter survey I did showed 27 percent of participants were most worried about what sort of job they are suitable for. Sometimes that’s down to industry lingo; some companies give Producers the title News Editor for example. Speaking to people in the industry helps you get a firm grasp of the jobs available and what you can target, but also make sure you read the job specification in detail.
My survey also found 41 percent of people were most worried about the cover letter or statement when applying. This is the key part of the process as it’s often that cover letter or statement that gets the employer to look at your CV. Ensuring you get this right needs time and thought. Remember my mantra of demonstrating skills rather than just listing them. Use examples of work to show where you have deployed those skills. Don’t make that statement or cover letter just about you either. Talk about the employer too, some of the work they have done, or articles/content that has impressed you.
Before January is over, make the first steps towards those career goals you talked about at the start of the year. It could lead to very different resolutions next January.