Up Your Professional Game this Year with 3 Easy Career Resolutions

Up Your Professional Game this Year with 3 Easy Career Resolutions


We’re quickly easing into a new year. And whether you’re positioning yourself for a raise, promotion, or new job over the next year or just ready to reinvest in yourself, now is the perfect time to knock out some simple wins. It’s a great time to polish your skills, proudly display them, and position yourself for success and professional advancement in the year ahead and for years to come. 

Because let’s face it, no matter what comes next in today’s volatile job economy, sharpening your professional prowess and allowing it to shine bright across the internet can’t hurt. So, keep reading for three easy ways to position yourself for your next big career breakthrough. 

Practice active listening.

Zoom fatigue is real, but it’s time to focus on your communication style with your colleagues (extra credit for friends and family). After a chaotic start to the decade with a never-ending news cycle and the constant buzz of words like unprecedented and disruption, listening and focusing on the dialogue at hand can be challenging. Making sure your manager, teammates, reports, partners, and colleagues feel heard and respected will bolster your professional relationships and make you a stronger leader.

What is active listening? 

Active listening requires listening attentively to the person speaking to understand what they’re saying clearly. You take the time to process and reflect on what they’re saying before responding and then retain the new intel for later. If you aren’t exactly sure what your speaker wants or is trying to explain, don’t hesitate to ask clarifying questions—it shows you’re interested. Active listening keeps you, the listener, and the speaker engaged. It can also be your new superpower because in the world of TikTok videos and TLDR, actively listening shows you respect your colleague and their thoughts and feelings matter to you. 

If you are in a leadership role or are currently climbing the corporate ladder, you need to be ready to listen and hear your colleagues. Even unintentionally cutting people off, zoning out, or multi-tasking—all of the above—is not a good look. And now, when most of us are working virtually and not having in-person face-to-face interactions, being a better listener is more important than ever. So, (whenever possible), camera on, phone down, and carry on… you’ve got this. Practice with your friends, family, or partner and see how people respond when you provide your undivided attention.

Give your LinkedIn a lift with skills badges.

LinkedIn lets you take quick tests to earn these badges and display them on your profile. Not only do skills badges add credibility to your experience, but they also bring you up higher in search rankings. That’s because, like Google and Facebook, LinkedIn has its algorithm. Regarding search visibility, the professional network weighs certain sections and content as being more critical regarding keywords—one of these is the skills section.

On LinkedIn, your skills section can prioritize you over others when a hiring manager or recruiter is hiring for a specific skill set. If you have your skills section filled out, your profile will appear over other members who don’t, regardless of their experience. Skills outrank both education and recommendations.

And that makes sense. Because recruiting teams, Human Resources, and hiring managers constantly search for candidates who can bring the right skills into play. While having endorsements for skills gets you bonus points, taking a quick skills assessment ranks you higher while bringing more objective credibility to your abilities as a professional.

When it comes to adding skills, instead of entering them manually, it’s helpful to leverage LinkedIn’s recommendations when you start typing. The skills that populate as you type in what you do best are explicitly optimized for LinkedIn’s skill database and will rank higher. And while helpful, the soft skills you can add are not necessarily something that hiring managers and recruiters search for specifically.

Skill assessments landed on LinkedIn more than three years ago, but most users aren’t aware of them. They’re easy to miss, but these quick quizzes give you the ability to back up the skills you’ve listed with proof. Be prepared before you take them. They aren’t the easiest, so getting a refresher in before is a good idea.

Master public speaking.

Working on your communications approach is easier than ever—and the benefits translate into your daily interactions with colleagues and hiring managers. You can join the Toast Masters Club to eliminate all those um’s, likes, and you know’s so you can communicate clearly and confidently. Attend in-person or online to practice live with a group of your peers, and no judgment.

If you aren’t ready to take the plunge into Toast Masters, watching a regular rotation of Ted Talks is a great way to observe how speakers from all walks of life create an executive presence. From diction, dramatic pauses, and eye contact to hand gestures, there’s so much you can pick up from watching the pros while learning more about their Ted topics.

And talking to a recruiter doesn’t hurt, either.

Staffing Strong works with a long roster of clients actively growing their businesses with new hires. We can counsel you on how to level up your professional presence in person and online. Let’s talk! Submit your resume today.

Meet the Author

Evelyn Vega is the Founder and President at Staffing Strong and the Past President of the Phoenix American Marketing Association. Since 1999, she’s made her career about supporting her clients in building meaningful careers and partnering with businesses in finding quality hires. In her free time, Evelyn sits on various advisory boards and enjoys practicing on her drum set!

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