Right now many of us feel as if our work and our plans are in flux. The impact of the pandemic, changes in technology, economic issues, and our financial fears all add to the worry about our jobs or our next job. If you do not have work now, this is an immediate concern. If you do, you still need to pay attention.

Start thinking about your next career moves now. Fit these easy steps into the next few weeks and invest in your future.

Document Your Achievements

Whether you do this regularly as part of work reports or performance reviews or not, take time now to review all your achievements in the past year. Write them down. Go back a couple of times over a week or so and make sure you have them all.

Making this a regular habit offers you:

  • information for performance reviews and salary raises
  • details you need to update your social media profiles and/or create a new resume
  • ideas to guide your next career development steps.

Do this each year at least once – many do it more often for ease. Keep the documents in one career file.

Check Your Online Presence

When you are in active job search, checking yourself out online is a basic task. Most of us would do well to do this regularly and catch things one needs to know – or bury – as soon as possible. Search your name and any common nicknames you use on Google and other search engines. If there are any issues, plan what to do next. There are tutorials available online on how to correct your own mistakes or bury problems. This is important for internal promotions as well as job search.

Update Your Career Plan

Successful people have career goals and plans. If you don’t already, get going and develop one. Your career is your biggest investment and has the most potential financially. Don’t just hope it will work out. Don’t wait till you are facing a job loss to think of what’s next. The changes in technology, corporate structure and ownership, the economy, and the federal budget all impact your career. Get ahead of the game by having ideas and options for your personal and professional growth.

Define Professional Development Plans

Each year you should review your career goals and plans and decide what growth and development you will undertake next. Some may be supported by your employer, but the definition of what you are going to do and how is your responsibility.

  • Are there courses or certifications you need to progress?
  • Are there skills you meed for promotion or a different job? How will you learn these?
  • How are your technical skills? Should you take a coding course or other technical skills online? At a local community college?
  • What are you reading, studying or experimenting with on your own?
  • Should you volunteer for projects or task forces at work?
  • Could you develop skills you need for your career goals in other settings, such as management skills in a volunteer role for a cause you care about?

Define specific plans and set up checkpoints to ensure you fit these efforts into other life activities.

Build Your Network

Maybe you have a drawer or phone full of business cards. Perhaps you have met people you meant to follow up with. Do it now. Get yourself organized and contact each person. Set up a system to help you reconnect with people you have not talked with in some time. Figure out where your past references are now and update them. Connect with people using social media, an email, or a phone call. Check in to see what they are up to and how you can help them. Introduce one connection to another who might make a good contact.

Study after study shows that those people who have a good network and who keep giving as well as taking from people in it are much more successful at life.

I regularly meet people in job search mode who have done nothing since their last job search to build or maintain their network. That hurts you directly because you lose the value of having the human connection as well as the developmental and growth opportunities you miss.


It is your career. Your success is within your own control. Sure, you are busy. Everyone is busy. Still, you are an investment worth making. Don’t be that person who ‘means to’, who is ‘going to’. Get going and act – life is so much better when you do!