Does it seem like 2021 came and went in the blink of an eye? Even if the year felt like a blur, it’s in your best interest to look back and assess how well you did in meeting your career goals. As you think back on your performance, milestones, and achievements, asking yourself a series of questions can help you get a clearer sense of how far you’ve come and where you’re headed in your career and profession. From professional growth to enhanced marketability, there are many reasons to take an inventory of your accomplishments and identify areas for improvement. As you look back on your career progress in 2021, here are some key questions to ask yourself:
Did I build my professional network?
To a large extent, the relationships you build throughout the course of your career can influence your professional success. Evaluating your network and the types of relationships you’ve developed over the past year is helpful for a couple of reasons. First, you’ll be able to see how the power of networking has helped you advance to new positions or acquire more valuable opportunities. Second, it can shed light on your ability to forge connections with superiors and subordinates in the workplace which can impact your career in many ways, from gaining promotions to earning more respect in the workplace. If you feel you’ve neglected networking over the past year, there are many ways in which you can boost your networking efforts, such as joining industry groups, attending industry events, and increasing your community involvement.
Did my skills or abilities improve?
Assessing your skill development is one of the most effective ways to track your progress and evaluate whether you improved your abilities. Consider what you did to enhance your performance and become more confident on the job. For instance, did you invest in your professional development? Did you seek opportunities to expand your horizons? Did you ask for constructive criticism? Thinking specifically about your improvements will give you a baseline for what you accomplished, as well as what you can do for your career in the coming year. In this realm, it’s important to consider both hard skills and soft skills that you’ve developed. While it’s easy to focus solely on your technical abilities, keep in mind that improving on soft skills like communication, teamwork, and emotional intelligence can be just as impactful.
Did I feel fulfilled and happy?
Believe it or not, your level of personal fulfillment and happiness can be indicative of your career success. If you ended this year feeling deflated or uninspired, these are signs you may need to switch gears and discover what may bring you more joy or satisfaction in your job. You may want to start off by considering what you find rewarding about your career. Is it the people in your work environment? The responsibilities? The pay? Determining the source of your fulfillment (or lack thereof) is integral to identifying opportunities in which you can find a greater sense of satisfaction in your day-to-day work. After all, improving your job satisfaction will ultimately improve your quality of life!
What could I have done differently?
There is always room for improvement, and going forward, it’s best to consider what you could have handled differently in various circumstances or situations. For instance, is there a project or initiative you could have taken on? Was there an opportunity to seek mentorship or advice? Is there a way you could have dealt with a conflict better? Giving some honest reflection on what you could have done differently over the past year will help you assess what you can approach in a more positive or productive way in the future. Asking this question of your manager during your performance reviews will also shed light on how you can make meaningful adjustments in your professional development. Learning from past mistakes and viewing challenges as opportunities for improvement will be instrumental in your ability to make positive changes moving forward.
Taking some time to look back at the past year is important for planning your career path for the next 365 days. No matter where you are in your professional journey, there’s great value in assessing your performance and embarking on the next year with a renewed sense of direction and mental clarity. Once you go through this process, you’ll feel more empowered to change the trajectory of your career and enter the next year with confidence and enthusiasm.
Is one of your 2022 career goals to acquire a new position? Get your job search underway with HH Staffing, a top Florida staffing agency, and get connected with new employment opportunities in a variety of industries, including property management, accounting, office/administrative, and light industrial.
Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO, and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings a fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high-performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.