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This year brought dramatic changes to the labor market and how we work because of COVID-19 pandemic. And if you are among the workers affected, then 2021 is the right moment to relive your bright career.
While 2020 was horrific, we shouldn't completely disregard the lessons it taught us about how we prefer to work, advised Tracy Timm, author of "Unstoppable: Discover Your True Value, Define Your Genius Zone, and Drive Your Dream Career."
"What did you learn from this mass confusion, and how can you apply it in life and your career moving forward," she said.
Maybe you learned that you thrive off the social interaction from your colleagues to help brainstorm and think more creatively. Or that you are more productive at home than you would have thought. "Prioritize it. It's about what you need to be happy and sustainable professionally," said Timm.
Here are the things you should focus on in 2021 to regain a bright career, reported by CNN:
1. Think Big, Plan Small
It's fine to think big for what you want to achieve in the new year, but break the goal into smaller steps.
"Take incremental steps," said Peggy Caruso, executive and personal development coach. "Once you take a small step and achieve it, it is a motivator."
So if your goal is to get a promotion, plan out your road map to a new title. For instance: lead two new projects, bring in X-number of new clients, take a leadership class, etc.
2. Revive your network
The standard ways of expanding your professional network, like conferences, industry events and trade shows, all of them had to be canceled in 2020. And because many career opportunities come from who you know, it's time to revitalize your networking game.
Events are happening virtually so check out applicable professional organizations and school alumni associations for any online meet and greets they are hosting, and browse networking websites, like LinkedIn or Meetup, for virtual gatherings.
Introducing yourself can be the hardest part of networking. That's why Caruso recommends perfecting your elevator pitch when someone asks what you do.
Expanding your network is important, but also spend some time refurbishing your already established network. The connections we have with our peers at work are important, they can help with productivity, engagement and overall satisfaction. But not having regular face time can weaken those relationships.
3. Find a Mentor
A mentor can provide insight, make connections and offer a dose of confidence when things gets tough.
"It doesn't have to be someone you know," said Caruso. "Determine what you want to accomplish and think, who is the person that has done this?"
Once you've identified the person, invite them to have a conversation where you detail why you chose them, what you are looking for and what work you plan to do in the relationship.
4. Re-establish Boundaries
When work and life happen under the same roof, balance becomes nonexistent. And that can quickly lead to professional burnout. Establish boundaries with your employer, family and yourself by being clear when you are on and off the clock.
"When you leave work, be in the moment," said Caruso. "When you go out from the [home office] pretend you're coming home and invite yourself to dinner. Put the phone down, disconnect from work, and be in mindset that the family needs a healthy meal together to talk about the day."
5. Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill can be re-energizing, not to mention a good boost to the resume. There are many online courses available that can help with career advancement, whether it's learning a hard skill, like enhancing your programming language abilities, or honing a soft skill, like effective communication.