It’s 2021 – a new year. Many of you may have made New Year’s resolutions -- decisions to make different lifestyle choices or to try something new. What are your resolutions for your career in 2021?
These are some recommended career strategies to pursue in the new year:
Reflect on Your Interests & Strengths
The start of a new year is a perfect time to assess your interests, skills and values, whether you will be pursuing your first internship or full-time position or are thinking about changing jobs or careers. While self-assessment is the first step in any career plan, it is also critical for a successful job search. Employers prefer to hire candidates who know themselves well and can articulate their career interests, skills and strengths. Use Focus 2 Career to start your self-assessment and meet with your BCC career coach to identify your best career fit.
Build Your Network
Students sometimes feel that it’s hard to develop a professional network if they don’t have “connections” or know senior executives in their prospective career field. However, anyone might have access to the career or employer information you need for your job search. Ensure that everyone you know is aware of your career plans and job search targets. Create a strong LinkedIn profile, join relevant LinkedIn groups, and expand your network to include professionals in your prospective career field, UIC alumni, classmates and faculty, in addition to friends and family.
Find a Mentor
Who do you turn to for advice? While parents, friends and family members are good bets when you need a sounding board, it is also helpful to find a mentor for professional guidance. Mentor relationships can be formal or informal, and it’s especially helpful if your mentor has experience in your intended career field. Ultimately, a mentor can be anyone who can advise you on professional and career development: supervisors, faculty, staff, older students, UIC alumni, family, friends, etc. Identify a potential mentor and reach out to them to set up a virtual coffee chat.
Set New Goals
What career goals do you want to achieve in 2021? To explore different industries and make a career choice? To obtain an internship and gain professional experience and skills? To launch your full-time post-UIC career in a fulfilling professional position? Write down your career-related goals with as much detail as possible. Your BCC career coach can help you create and execute a plan to achieve your career goals in the coming year.
It’s important to keep track of your communication with professional contacts, companies on your target list, job applications, interviews and your overall job search progress. Set up a spread sheet to record and organize this information or use an online job search organizer.
Feel free to reach out to the UIC Business Career Center for assistance in achieving your 2021 career goals.