Tomorrow is the first day of fall, and we couldn’t be more excited! Jumping in leaves, sipping on pumpkin spice lattes, breathing in that crisp air. What could be better? The new season is also a great time to set new goals for work as you’ll also be looking into the fourth quarter. Though your specific goals will vary based on your industry and your job title, there are a few more universal goals you’re sure to want on your list.
1. Communicate More Effectively
Communicating effectively at work isn’t just some random soft skill. Communication really is the key to getting your message across so that you can advocate for your work. It’s also key for working collaboratively and productively on a team. In the long run, good communicators are also more likely to step into management roles and to continue the climb up the ladder.
This fall, take a moment to do a communication audit to see how you’re doing. How well are team members responding to you and your messages? Are you harboring any resentments when it comes to communicating about goals and work flow? Are the mediums you use working for you or is it time to mix it up — say, by vowing to communicate more in person rather than through email? When you do speak person-to-person, are you actively listening, providing feedback as you go while still making sure you’re really hearing what the other person is saying?
Even the best communicators need a reset now and again, so it’s always worth doing a quick evaluation.
2. Grow Your Professional Network
Whether you’re currently in your dream job or you’re actively looking around, growing your professional network is always a useful endeavor. Doing so will help you better find more creative partnerships, and it also of course gives you more options should things in your current role ever go south. This fall, start with small networking goals. Get business cards made up. Attend one local Meetup per month. Join your local industry group and attend an event. Just start getting out there, bit by bit.
3. Feeling Better Around the Office
If you’re like most office workers, chances are pain is a part of your daily equation. All of that typing, mousing, and hunching can lead to Repetitive Strain Injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other related musculoskeletal injuries. This kind of pain is no joking matter, as it can derail your productivity, efficiency, and even your ability to get creative at work.
Fortunately, this is all highly avoidable with a little proactivity. Replacing your traditional, flat keyboard with a Goldtouch split ergonomic keyboard, for example, will go a long way towards improving the way you type and decreasing your pain. Because the keyboard pulls apart in the middle and also tents vertically, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit for you, rather than struggling and straining to type with your wrists in a splayed position. You’ll prevent pain in both the short and in the long term, meaning you’ll have far more energy and mental space for improving your career. The same goes for working on all other ergonomic products, which were built from the ground up with your body and your comfort in mind.
4. Get a Mentor (or Become One)
It’s always important to have an eye towards the future, and having an experienced mentor is an excellent way to do just that. A good mentor has seen and done it all within your industry and also has ample connections to share with you. They’ll see your career from a more zoomed out view, and therefore will help you see and make routes for yourself that you may not have seen on your own. They’ll also help you navigate tricky interpersonal situations, and will help you set achievable yet challenging goals to keep you consistently growing into new and bigger roles.
A mentor can be invaluable to your career, but so, too, can a mentee. If you’re at a point in your career at which you can feasibly take a mentee on, do it. You’ll love giving back in this way. All of that fresh energy and those creative new ideas will rejuvenate you either in your own work or in your retirement.
5. Improve Your Online Presence
It’s not an overstatement these days to say that if you don’t have an online professional presence, you don’t exist. Well, you do exist (don’t worry, you won’t magically fade away without a LinkedIn profile). However, you will be more difficult for like minded professionals to find. And, you will also potentially do damage to your reputation for not having this bare minimum in place. If you’re just starting out online, take the time to create and really flesh out your LinkedIn profile. Take the time to give colleagues and potential employers a solid idea of who you are. Make sure to grow your network widely and to update regularly so that you’re constantly at the top of other people’s professional feeds. Doing these things will keep you in the minds of potential employers and colleagues who could have opportunities for you down the line.
If your work calls for it, a professional website complete with a portfolio can also be incredibly useful. It may even be a basic minimum for snagging customers and gigs.
These are just a few of many great career goals to set for yourself this fall. What fall goals have you set for yourself already? We’d love to hear all about them in the blog comments.