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Build Your Career Get Ahead

The Top Career Resolutions for 2017 (and How to Keep Them)

The Top Career Resolutions for 2017 (and How to Keep Them)
Credit: BUNDITINAY/Shutterstock

It's that time of year again. The new year is upon us and so are New Year’s resolutions. Career goals are often part of our resolutions. While many resolutions fall to the wayside, career goals are best to keep since they can substantially improve our lives.

Many professionals make career New Year's resolutions. According to our research, here are top six things most hope to accomplish in 2017, and how to make them actually happen.

If your company doesn't issue annual raises in conjunction with performance reviews — or if you've been stuck at the same salary level for a while — the onus may be on you to ask your boss for a pay increase. But it's not as simple as marching intoyour boss's office and demanding a raise: You need to be able to demonstrate your value to the company and explain why you're worth the extra investment. Before you request more money, however, be sure you've taken stock of your accomplishments and have solid data such as market value and budgetary considerations to back you up. 

Read more about asking for a raise.

Taking the time to sharpen existing job skills and learning new ones can make you feel fulfilled professionally, as well as boost your value to your company — and therefore, put you in line for raises and promotions. Enrolling in a course or certification program or attending industry workshops and conferences can help you develop practical skills, but don't forget that soft skills like communication and leadership are in demand, too. 

Read more about the skills employers want to see.

Get promoted

Many professionals resolve to move up the ladder at their company each new year. Much like asking for a raise, securing a promotion isn't always simple, and sometimes the timing just isn't right for your company to create a new position or promote you to a new one. However, there are some things you can do to help your case, such as acting like a leader and being more sociable at work. 

Read more about earning a promotion.

Completely switching your career track can be difficult, but some are determined to do it. One of the most difficult factors is starting over at the bottom with no formal experience in your new field. However, regardless of what point you're at in your current career, any prior work experience should have armed you with numerous transferrable skills that are useful in any industry. Think about what general skills you have and really highlight them when applying to new jobs. 

Read more about making a career change.

If you're ready to leave your current job and move to a new company, you're not alone. Some professionals cite this as their goal for next year. Whether you're feeling like you've hit a dead end or simply need a change of scenery, research available opportunities in your field and ask your professional contacts if they know anything about the companies you're thinking of approaching. Most importantly, don't badmouth your current employer during interviews or burn any bridges in the process. You never know when you might need to reach back for help.

Read more about interviewing for a job while still employed.

Networking can open a lot of career-related doors, but you have to actively work at it. That's why many make a resolution to build their professional network. When you reach out and make connections with people in your field, you can find mentorship, career advice and even introductions for new job opportunities. But don't let your professional relationships be one-sided — listen to your contacts and try to provide value for them as well. 

Read more about expanding your professional network.

Additional reporting by Nicole Taylor.

Pamela S. Stevens

Pamela has one personal business motto: "If I ever lose money, I quit." And that has not happened yet through the past 20 years and five small businesses. Pamela is a California transplant who now resides in Ogden, Utah, where Business News Daily's parent company, Purch, is headquartered. She started with Purch in 2005 as one of the first writers for Top Ten Reviews (TTR), where she reviewed all types of products including business, security and financial software and services. Now she writes and develops content for all Purch B2B properties, covering a broad range of small business and IT topics. Her formal education includes a degree in Creative Writing and Geography, with a special interest in smart planning and urban development.