Educate January 2018

Career Catalyst: A New Year Brings New Career Objectives Tips on Starting the Year off Right

Written By: Craig Petrus, Executive Director of Career Services, University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

With the arrival of a new year comes a fresh new start for our career and professional development. Quite often, we create New Years’ resolutions for our personal development, but often times we forget about our career and professional development. This is just as important as your other resolutions! So, as you commit to losing a few pounds in the new year, here are a few tips that will help your professional life heading in the right direction.   

Dust Off Your Resume

You accomplished a lot of great things in 2017. Make sure you document them and update your resume appropriately. Think back to your biggest and proudest accomplishments, your most challenging and impactful tasks and your biggest wins. Document them on paper within your accomplishment archive, then make them “resume ready.” You always want to update your resume at least once a year with the latest and greatest moments of your career. Why? You never know when that next great career opportunity is going to fall in your lap and you need an updated resume at a moment’s notice.  

Build Upon Your Network

You can never have too many advocates on your professional networking “bench,” so this is why it is important to continue to add to your “team.” Become a proactive networker this year and set a goal for yourself to increase your current professional network by twelve. Why twelve? At a minimum, connect with at least one new professional a month for a phone call or networking meeting – a simple cup of coffee always works. Step out of your comfort zone and research those within your industry, function or even those individuals at your own company to get to know them better and learn from. Remember, it is just as important to give as it is to receive, so make sure you approach your networking opportunities with your own value proposition on how you can help your new “team member” just as much as they are helping you.

Join a Professional Networking Group or Association

One great way to accomplish your professional networking goals that we spoke of above is to join a professional networking group or association. Whether it be a young professional’s group or industry or trade function association, there are hundreds of professional organizations to choose from that are in direct correlation to the career you have chosen for yourself. Conduct a quick internet search using keywords around “association” and you will see how plentiful they are. Not only will you begin to meet people with similar interests, a number of these organizations offer great opportunities for continued career and professional development, along with job boards where you could very well find your next great career opportunity for the new year. Make time for yourself here and you will certainly see the benefits of your involvement.    

Continuous Learning

One great way to continue to increase your marketability is to become a continuous learner and arm yourself with the latest education and knowledge that is important to succeed in your profession. Whether it is an advanced degree such as an MBA or other Master’s degree, or a professional certification or license, there are a number of great opportunities for you to continue to strengthen your tool kit through continuous education. Research and look to obtain the education or certification in something that will have a direct impact on your day-to-day job, one that you can immediately utilize and put into action on a daily basis. A few examples of professional certifications can include Project Management Professional (PMP), Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC), Charted Financial Analyst (CFA), Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) and Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP). As you can see, there are a number of great opportunities in which to continue to expand your knowledge through professional certifications.   

Year in Review

Just before the end of the year or just as the new year is starting, schedule some time with your immediate manager to review your performance over the past year. Ask for direct and constructive feedback as to those things they feel you are excelling at, while also exploring those areas where they feel you can improve upon. Come prepared with questions so that you can drive a majority of the conversation and really uncover those areas that will make the most impact on your career and professional development. My recommendation would also be to have this conversation away from the office, such as over lunch or a cup of coffee. This will help lighten the mood a bit and establish a bit more of a relaxed atmosphere where the conversation can feel more comfortable. 

Have fun!

A new year brings a fresh new start. So, approach your job and career with a positive outlook. Wake up every day and tell yourself that today is going to be a good day, despite the challenges you may face. Every challenge brings a learning experience and reward, so have a positive approach. Start to implement things in your everyday work day that are fun, those that will keep things exciting and laughable from time to time. Whether it be celebrating other team members wins, birthdays or other celebratory events, take some time to walk away from the daily grind for fifteen minutes to catch your breath, laugh and think about something else for a moment. Think about implementing team lunches or social outings once a month so that you can interact with your fellow team members outside of the office. Dedicate the time to insert some fun into your work life. Keep in mind, a positive and fun attitude will result in a more productive environment for you and those around you.


CRAIG W. PETRUS joined the Warrington College of Business in June of 2009. As Executive Director, Craig is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Business Career Services Office and ensuring the delivery of quality career development programming and services to students within the College of Business at the University of Florida

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