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4 New Year's resolutions you should make if you need a graduate job

The new year is an opportunity for a fresh start for your career. 

Whether you're a graduate and didn't find the job that was right for you in 2018, you're a student looking to get a graduate job this year, or you're just ready for a change in 2019 - here are four resolutions you can make for the benefit of your job hunt and graduate career.

And, because studies show that around 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February, we've included some practical tips on how you can stick to them. 



1. Regularly assess your career goals and skills 

Taking time to reflect shouldn't just be reserved for January. When you're still figuring out what you want to do and the kind of role that suits you, it's important to regularly check-in with yourself to reevaluate what your priorities are. 

How important is a high salary? Or, is it more important that an employer offers perks like flexible working hours? Would you feel more comfortable in a team of 20 or 200 people? If you're already in a graduate role, in what ways would you like the next job you take on to be different? 

You can check out this article on the career questions you should aim to answer this year for more inspiration. 

Just as you should be redefining your goals and learning from your experiences of the working world as you go along, it's essential to think about how your skillset and interests are developing over the course of 2019. Once you've settled on the goals you're aspiring towards, you'll likely find a gap between your existing skills and the skills you need to match the job description you're aiming for. Then, work on closing that gap. 


How to stick to it:

You're more likely to stick to a resolution if you can see it having tangible results. Set yourself mini goals to close the gap between the skillset you have and the skillset you need to land those aspirational roles.

The more progress you make, the more motivation you'll have - so hold yourself to account by keeping a written log of the specific areas you'd like to work on. 



2. Put yourself out there more 

You've probably heard this many times before, and you will many times again: networking is crucial.

Some reports indicate that as many as 70% of job openings are filled via some form of networking, and with an array of social media platforms at your disposal, there's no excuse not to start getting involved. 

Optimise your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, follow people who inspire you, and don't be afraid to reach out to people to chat about your industry or organise going for a coffee. If you're city-based, you're likely to be surrounded by opportunities to attend networking events and talks, which are great ways to meet people in the same industry as you. 


How to stick to it:

Resolving to "network more" in 2019 is vague and therefore difficult to measure. Instead, set yourself specific goals and understand why you're setting them.

What do you hope to gain from accumulating more contacts this year? Who are the kinds of people you'd like to reach out to? Have a think, write it down and set yourself a target for the number of new professionals you'd like to have conversations with and networking events you'd like to attend over the course of the year.

Remember, though, your LinkedIn connections shouldn't be treated as a numbers game - it's all about the quality of your network, not the quantity of your contacts. 

You can also look up organisations in your area that run free mentoring schemes - they'll pair you up with a more experienced professional to help you realise your goals. 



3. Add at least one new thing to your CV

Challenge yourself to go above and beyond in your spare time to add something unique to your skillset. In order to decide what to work on, think back to the first resolution on this list, where you identified the gaps between your existing experience and your next ideal graduate job. 

You can also think about how you might set yourself apart from other graduates going for the same roles as you. What new skills might you need to do that? 

Whether it's improving your fluency in a foreign language, or developing an understanding of data analytics, you've got online courses, discussion forums, YouTube tutorials, educational apps and evening classes at your disposal. 


How to stick to it:

If you're looking to develop a new skill like learning a language, instrument or computer programme, you're essentially looking to create a new habit in order to get there.

The key is not to rush in and try to do too much at once. Set yourself realistic daily, bi-weekly, or weekly goals that you can stick to and keep up with long-term, no matter how busy your schedule gets. 

Signing up for a course or volunteering event with a friend is also a great idea, as you'll be able to hold each other to account. 



4. Look after yourself 

This should go without saying, but it's too important not to. Looking for a job, particularly if you've been unemployed for a while, can become highly stressful and, ultimately, take a toll on your mental health. 

So, of course, make 2019 a year you aim to push yourself and get closer to your goals - but never at the expense of you


How to stick to it:

The more you treat your job search like a job in itself, the easier this resolution will be. Set certain hours of the day you spend job hunting and, ideally, designate a space in your home to do so - then, you'll be able to draw a clear line between when you're relaxing and when you're working on your career. Be sure to regularly give yourself time for breaks to go out and do things you enjoy, with people who support you. 

Think about where you want to be long-term and focus on how all the little steps you're taking now are getting you closer to achieving that. You might not have your dream job right now, but you're moving forwards.