My friends, family, and colleagues often say to each other “hashtag 2020.” After all, this year has had many unexpected twists and turns. My husband is on the front lines taking care of patients as a pulmonologist. I have worked full time, helped our kids with virtual school in the Spring, and even launched my company, 360 Executive Branding. Everyone is experiencing the pandemic in a different way, but I think we are all ready for the new year… and a new beginning. Hence, 5781.
New Year, New You
While most common in the Western Hemisphere, New Year's resolutions can also be found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life. On Rosh Hashanah, we usually congregate at Temple Israel. This year, while we will be social distanced and located at our house, we will still continue to be reflective.
Losing weight and saving money were the most popular New Year’s Resolutions from December 31, 2019. Today, in the middle of the global pandemic, times are a bit different. We may have gained the pandemic pounds and feel the effects of the recession; however, many of us have had a chance to step back and reevaluate our priorities. Others have called this time “the great pause.” It’s like we’ve been treading water without any progress. From candidates and clients, I’ve seen leaders make choices to move closer to their aging parents, seek more outside play space for their children, and act on their personal dreams.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined.”
– Henry David Thorough
It’s more important than ever to include your professional goals as part of your Rosh Hashanah Resolutions this year. Be proactive by making progress on your objectives even before the vaccine is distributed. It’s your chance to get ahead of the curve and improve your professional brand before the world returns to its new normal.
Rosh Hashanah Resolutions can be incorporated into your professional branding strategy. You may be asking, “so, what is a professional brand?” Your brand is the way in which people perceive you. And your professional brand is the way in which others perceive you at work and within your industry.
Elevate your professional brand by gaining knowledge, maintaining your network, and improving your career prospects with these 12 categories to include in your Rosh Hashanah Resolutions.
- Give back to the community. Not only will this introduce you to an entirely new group of people, but you will be helping others at the same time. There are so many ways to volunteer. I enjoy serving on the Board of Directors for MERS/Goodwill.
- Read one career related motivational book per month. Whether you’re into biographies, self-help, or purely non-fiction business textbooks, you can read one book a month. It’s completely acceptable to listen to it instead via audible or through one of the many apps through the Louis County Library (Libby, Overdrive, Hoopla). You can even give them a call for a tutorial. One of my favorites is Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, a former FBI hostage negotiator.
- Level up by learning a new skill. During this “great pause,” invest in yourself by learning a new skill. Perhaps you can improve your computer literacy – even through Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook. You can find courses online through LinkedIn or even at your local library.
- Attend one conference, even if it’s virtual. Do you have a list of conferences you’ve always wanted to attend? This is the perfect year to take the plunge! My favorite conferences are food-related including The Fancy Food Show and Natural Products Expo West. In the past, I have also enjoyed attending conferences focused on toys, engineering, healthcare, and private equity.
- Get a professional certification. Explore the posted job prospects… is there a degree that you need? A professional certification? Now is the time to go after it.
- Sign up for a relevant Listservs. Automated systems can save you time and effort in staying up to date on industry news. Each day, I receive curated content via email from various sources.
- Join a professional organization. This isn’t just about maintaining your network, but also should be something you enjoy and are passionate about. If it’s not, you need to take a step back and reevaluate your career. You should enjoy meeting others with the same interests and passions. And, if you need help on the discovery journey, please reach out to me as I can help you pinpoint your strengths, interests, values, and passions.
- Get Your Heart Pumping. Another way to maintain your network is to get together (socially distanced for now, of course) with your trusted advisors. Perhaps you can even squeeze in some exercise at the same time. Invite a trusted advisor, enjoy some fresh air, and burn some calories at the same time.
- Engage on Social Media. Yes, you can “play” online and still consider it your professional brand. What does your brand stand for? By creating a social media strategy, you can identify the key areas where you want to focus. Remember to post and be sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized. Through my coaching as a LinkedIn Superuser, my clients have enjoyed serving on think-tanks with other c-suite executives in their fields, doubling their profile views by recruiters, and gaining clients that are directly attributed to the changes they’ve made.
- Create an executive biography. Fewer than 25% of talent acquisition professionals read cover letters. How can you stand out from the crowd and show yourself as the leader that you truly are? Share your executive biography appropriately.
- Improve Productivity. Did you know that a happy employee is a productive employee? Well, it’s true according to Forbes in 2017. You can be happier by reducing stress, spending time with friends (aka networking with your tribe), and working out. Perhaps you enjoy monthly massages at The J, ordering your daily cold brew from Starbucks, outsourcing your laundry, or watching Hamilton on Disney+. These are completely acceptable goals that fall within improving your brand.
- Practice gratitude. We become where we focus. We can practice gratitude by writing thank you notes to others, through a kind gesture, or by maintaining a journal.
Make Your Rosh Hashanah Resolutions Reachable
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be SMART:
- Time bound
In fact, Chabad has a “Resolution Solution” for Rosh Hashanah. Type in your resolution, and Chabad.org will email you daily, weekly or monthly reminders of what you resolved. Check it out by clicking the link here.
Julie Zuick is an expert in retained executive recruitment, career coaching, and marketing. She is the founder of 360 Executive Branding, a retained executive search firm that partners with organization to recruit top talent and high-achievers to provide career advisory services. She is a multi-year recipient of quality and customer service awards and is known for providing highly engaging experiences for the organizations and leaders she serves. Julie, her husband Scott, and their two sons are members of Temple Israel.