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12 New Year's Resolutions to help with your career

It’s 2019 – happy new year! If you’re anything like us here at Success at School, you’ll be trying (and struggling) to think of some new year’s resolutions right now.

Why not make your career one of your goals for 2019 and come up with some new year’s resolutions for work? And the great news is we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are 12 new year’s resolutions for work, one for each month of the year.

'Check out our 12 new year's resolutions for work - one for each month of 2019'

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January: Write a CV

If you don’t already have one, it’s time to write a CV you can start using straight away. You’ll find this useful for many of the new year’s resolutions for work on this list. Using our CV template and guide to CV-writing, this should take you no time at all. If you haven’t already, start a Success at School account and build a Career Profile to keep track of your skills, grades and work experience.

February: Plan a work placement for the summer

Work experience grows your transferable skills

A work placement or work experience scheme is a great way to gain specific skills and experience in a role you are genuinely interested in pursuing in your career. There are plenty of accountancy, finance and technology programmes out there which typically give school students a week of on-the-job experience alongside colleagues as well as skills workshops and even job application training. Some of these placements are even paid. Have a Google and check out our jobs and courses listings to see what’s on offer. Applications often close in the Spring so make sure you start your research no later than February.

March: Get a Saturday job

If you’re old enough, why not get a weekend or evening job for your March new year’s resolution for work? This is a great way to get basic skills and experience such as customer service, timekeeping and punctuality, working with others, balancing priorities (schoolwork/job), taking responsibility and flexibility (you might need to take different shifts). You’ll also earn yourself a pretty penny!

April: Gain one new skill

Set out to develop a skill you don’t have and wouldn’t ordinarily have the opportunity to gain in your school, work or home life. You could do this by taking up a new hobby or extra-curricular activity. Aim for something completely different from what you’d normally do – if you’re into rugby, why not take up photography to develop your creativity skills (you could do sports photography)? Or if you’re into sewing, you could try writing a blog to enhance your writing skills (it could be an embroidery blog).

May: List 10 jobs you’re interested in and 10 you hate

May’s new year’s resolution for work is designed to help you zero in on what career path might be right for you. When you’ve created these lists, think about what each of them has in common. For example, is there a particular industry (e.g. charity sector) or skillset (e.g. creativity) which links the items on each list? This will help you identify your strengths and interests as well as your weaknesses and what you’re less passionate about.

June: Quiz 3 people about their jobs

These people can be anyone – relatives or family friends, for example – but they should be people whose careers you don’t know anything about. Ask them what jobs they do and find out what they like and don’t like, what qualifications they had to undertake to get to where they are, the kind of work experience they did and any tips they’d offer someone wanting to follow in their footsteps. Whether or not you like the sound of these jobs, this will give you an idea of the steps you need to take at the beginning of your career.

July: Write a mock application

Get practice filling in job application forms

With February and March’s tasks out of the way, you should already have a bit of experience with this. Now it’s time to search for a job online and put together a mock application to practise applying for jobs. You can use our guide to filling in application forms to help you, and when you’ve finished, share it with your school/college careers advisor to see whether they think you’d make the cut.

August: Ask a family friend or relative to tell you about their career journey

For your August new year’s resolution for work, talk to your mum’s or dad’s best friend, your aunt, uncle, grandparent or any other relative or family friend about their career. Find out how they trained for their current (or, if they’re retired, most recent) job and what they would advise for someone starting our on their career path.

September: Arrange a meeting with your careers advisor

Your careers advisor is a great source of info and support

Hopefully you met your careers advisor after completing your mock application back in July. Now it’s time to arrange a proper meeting with them to discuss your career ideas and create a step-by-step action plan for gaining the skills and experience you need to pursue your dream job. Take a look at our guide to making the most of your careers advisor.

October: Buddy up with a friend to keep track of your careers progress

Find a friend and start regularly comparing notes on what you are each doing to develop your career plans. You could agree to speak monthly about what you’ve been up to. In your first chat, you should agree what you each plan to achieve by next month. Then, when you meet in November, find out how far each of you has got and agree your next set of goals. This way, you can share ideas and also motivate each other to make good progress.

November: Ask an older friend or sibling what they would do differently at school

If you have a friend or older sibling who has left school and is now working, at university or doing an apprenticeship, find out what they would do differently to prepare for their career if they could go back and have their school years over again. For example, they may wish they’d done work experience while at school to help them get onto an internship during uni. They may even have suggestions about extra qualifications or courses you could do while you’re at school. These little ideas will give you tips and hints about things you can do now to get ahead later on.

December: Find out about a job you didn’t know existed

Find out about a job you’ve never even heard of. This could give you some new inspiration if you’re finding it hard to pick a career path that really appeals to you, or you may just stumble upon the perfect job for you! We’ve got a few profiles you can look at here on Success at School – marine biologist, nanosystems engineer and anthropologist to name but a few.

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