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6 Career Planning Questions to Ask Yourself Before the Year Ends

With November flying by and December in our midst, the end of the work year is well and truly upon us! But before you run off to indulge in the holiday season, let’s take some time out to take stock of the year that’s been.

Whether you changed jobs, learnt new skills or stayed in your current position, there’s one thing for sure: you’re a different person from the one back in January. Here are 6 crucial questions to help you reflect on the year that’s passed and start making plans for the year ahead.

1. What career goals did I accomplish?

What did you set out to achieve at the start of the year and which of those did you actually accomplish? Starting with the big ones like landing a new job, then moving on to the small ones like taking an online course, list out your accomplishments. While the small ones may seem insignificant, everything matters. Be grateful for what you were able to achieve and recommit to those that are yet to be done.

2. What held me back?

Now if there were a lot of things on your yet-to-be-accomplished list, don’t beat yourself up about it. We are all bound to encounter roadblocks – what sets leaders apart though is that they are willing to face up to them. Was it your thoughts or work productivity habits? Did you have unrealistic expectations? Or was it something completely out of your control? Being honest about this may be uncomfortable, however, becoming aware of the core reasons enables us to learn and grow, which brings us to our next question.

3. What have I learnt?

Learning is a lifelong pursuit and every year offers a new opportunity to grow in our vocation and industry. Looking back in 2018, how did you develop your skills and subject matter expertise? Did you attend a conference or gain a certification? Did you attend a class or take an online course through sites like Udemy? Identifying the professional areas that you have developed will show you just how much you have grown, bolster up your resume and open up new career opportunities.

4. What do I love about my current career?

Life isn’t all about work; however it does, on average, make up over a quarter of our week. Consequently, there should be aspects that make it enjoyable, meaningful and fulfilling. In your case, what aspects do you love about your current career? Is it the people? The work? The growth opportunities? Never forget what brings you joy at work and focus on nurturing those aspects.

5. What needs to change?

Whether you love or loathe your current career, there’ll always be something that can be improved. The important thing is to remember that you have the power to affect change and make things better for yourself and those around you. Maybe you need to have a heart-to-heart with your boss. Maybe you need to upskill to scale the career ladder. Or maybe it’s time to make that career transition that you’ve been putting off. Identify what needs to change so that you can be the change in the new year.

6. What are my goals for next year?

Now that you’ve taken stock of the lessons of 2018, it’s time to look to the future. What does a successful 2019 look like and what do you need to do to make it happen? Start off by identifying your top 3-5 goals for the year – dream big, no regrets – then break each one of them down into quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Once you have written them out, share them with people who can help you develop a plan and keep you accountable to them (e.g. your boss, colleagues, spouse, family or friends). And once you’ve done all of that, give yourself a pat on the back and a bit of a break because before you know it, the new work year will be upon us!

We know how hard it can be to pursue your career goals. However, you don’t have to do it alone! For more information on how we can help you along your journey, follow NTUC LearningHub on Facebook or talk to our friendly Course Consultants at NTUC Trade Union House, Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability, LHUB @ Tampines Mall or any of our roadshows islandwide.

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