Put these items on your radar this year.
- The 2022 labor market is starting off hot.
- It pays to make some career decisions and invest in professional development this year to set yourself on a solid path.
In 2020, U.S. unemployment was at a record high and workers were struggling with job and income loss. But these days, things are looking different. The 2022 labor market is loaded with jobs, so you have a prime opportunity to move your career in the right direction. Here are four moves worth making before the year comes to an end.
1. Grow some skills
With so many hiring opportunities, investing some hours in boosting your job skills is a good bet this year. You may even need to invest a little money as well, for things like taking a course or attending a seminar. If you manage to grow your job skills, you might position yourself for a solid step upward at a time when so many companies have roles to fill.
2. Expand your professional network
Knowing the right people could be your ticket to a better job this year. It pays to expand your network of contacts, both within your company and outside it.
Start by getting to know people in different departments within your current company, as there may be internal job opportunities worth pursuing. At the same time, get to know people outside of your company by going to networking events, attending conferences, or even just asking the people you already know for more introductions.
3. Get a better sense of what you’re worth
Because so many companies are eager — and in some cases, desperate — to hire this year, many are offering higher wages. It’s worth going after those higher wages because they could help you meet your near-term financial goals, like buying a home or paying off your credit cards.
But before you can engage in salary negotiations with prospective employers, it’s important to know how much money you’re actually worth, so spend some time researching salary data for your industry and city (keeping in mind wages are often proportionate to local living costs). That way, you’ll know if you’re getting a great offer or a mediocre one.
4. Switch careers if you’re just not happy
Changing careers isn’t easy. Often, it means having to take a step backward professionally and, in many cases, taking a pay cut. But if you’re going to make a career switch, it pays to do it at a time when companies really need more hands on deck.
Right now, an employer in another industry may be more willing to take a chance on an outsider with little to no experience. If you’re in a financially solid situation — say, you have a healthy amount of savings to fall back on in case your wages go down temporarily — then you may want to take that leap.
We’re currently in the midst of an interesting job market — one where it’s easy to argue that job seekers have the upper hand. Consider making these career moves this year to set yourself up for near-term and ongoing success.
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