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What you can do to improve your career between Christmas and New Year

The week between Christmas and New Year is a strangely calm time, a limbo between the frantic Christmas celebrations and New Year parties. Many of us have the week off work – there are no emails coming in to bring our minds back to the stresses of the office and the world seems to breathe a collective sigh of relief.

It’s a time to reboot and prepare for the year ahead.

It’s also the perfect time to give your career a refresh. With no worries other than how much turkey to put in your leftover sandwich, or deciding if it’s ok to stay in your pyjamas for the third day running, you can take advantage of the headspace to think about what you really want for your career next year.

You don’t have to spend too much time on it either, after all it shouldn’t be at the detriment of your relaxation time – an hour or so a day can make a big difference, and you will go back to work feeling much more prepared for whatever is in store.

Give yourself a performance review

Think about what went well or what didn’t, but remember to celebrate your successes and focus on the positives. You’ve also got the breathing space to look at the bigger picture of your career. What do you really want? What makes you happy? What drives you?

Don’t set concrete New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions often just serve to make us feel guilty when we fail to reach our own impossibly high standards. The best goals are broken down like this:

  • Set one overarching goal or vision, such as to feel happier in your current job, to start a new career, or to improve your work/life balance. Aim to identify something to inspire and motivate you, a vision of the future to work towards.
  • Now, set smaller milestones that will help you achieve that vision. These are the goals that can be more specific, such as taking a professional course, negotiating more flexible working hours with your boss, or joining a networking group. Importantly, these smaller milestones must be specific, measurable and achievable.
  • Finally, recognise that it’s okay if things go wrong or something changes – be flexible! Often when people fail with their New Year’s resolutions they give up completely. With more flexible goals you allow yourself to say: “ok, things went wrong, what am I going to do to fix it?”

Take the time to go over the basics

If you’re looking for a new job, often you’re trying to do it alongside all of your other commitments, such as your current job, your commute, or your personal life. During the Christmas break, life slows down a bit and you have the time to work on the smaller details that can make all the difference to your job applications. Take a look at the guides below and see if you can apply them to your own job-hunting materials.

Your CV
Your cover letter
Your LinkedIn profile

If you do decide to apply for jobs over Christmas, this also gives more time to spend on the actual applications. Read our job application guide for some top tips.

However you feel is the best way to spend your free time over Christmas – just make sure you give yourself time to relax so you start January feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle your career goals head on.

Let us know how you get on!

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