This time of year makes most of us think about our career – is it what we want to do? Do we want to make a change? Is our career stagnating? Can it be rebooted?

The important thing to remember is that what you visualized when you were in school isn’t what will happen at work. Life, opportunities, and obstacles get in the way. If you are thinking of a career change or even just a tweak, here are some ways to get started.

Make new goals

Just like New Year’s resolutions, now’s the time to do a little goal-setting. Sit down and write out the pros and cons of your job. What do you enjoy and what do you dislike? What do you want to do more of at work? Do a thorough assessment of of your job and see what direction it could take you.

Make a plan

Where do you see yourself in the next year or the next five years? Once you’ve decided, make a plan that outlines the steps you need to get there.

New skills

If your career reboot needs some new skills, now is the time to take advantage of your company’s tuition plan, if they have one. If not, upgrade your skills after work and on weekends. Bonus – it’s tax deductible.

Talk to your boss

If your new plan requires assistance from the boss, request a meeting with him or her. Present your plan but in a way that benefits her and the company’s 2013 goals. While the main goal is to benefit your career, you need to get your boss’ support to make a successful change.

Seek advice and a mentor

You may not know all the answers so find someone or multiple people who do. Set up informational interviews in support of your career plan. This might also be the time to find a mentor who can coach you, provide support and help in your development. You may find one at work or at a local association.


Networking isn’t just for when you’re looking for a new job. It helps because you can find out if there are any new positions opening up in your company, if there are opportunities to move laterally or if there are new projects.

Put the word out

You’re not looking for a new job (maybe not yet) but put the word out that you’re ready for more responsibilities or offer to help on a project within a new working group.

Are you planning on making a career change or tweak this year? How are you going to do it?