Make Over Your Career Next Year

1. Don’t skimp on the primp. No more half-assing your work attire. Pick it out ahead of time and you’ll cut down on fashion faux pas and the time it takes to get ready in the morning.

2. No excuses—write down your goals. You’ve heard by now that writing down your goals has been proven to increase your chances of meeting them. What have you got to lose? Decide what you want out of ’12, and at every three-month mark, assess how far you’ve come and what it will take to stay on course.

3. Take care. Whether it’s the physical or mental kind, you’ll be at your productivity peak when your health is in tact. Make exercise and stress relief a priority so you can spend more of your sick days out having fun.

4. Give yourself a price tag. Do the math, go to the salary sites, ask people in the biz… Knowing your value will make it easier to ask for (and receive!) the raise you’ve been wanting.

5. Spread the wealth. Build your leadership experience, network, do more meaningful work… There are plenty of reasons to volunteer, many of which can have a positive impact on your career. Find a charity you can sink your teeth into, and watch as new doors open.

6. Nix negativity. There will always be co-workers who like to disagree, who think they’re never wrong, and who have the ability to suck the energy right out of the room. Don’t let the nay-sayers bring you down. Accept that they’ll never change, surround yourself with positive people, and spend your time doing something more productive—like proving them wrong!

7. Say good-bye to guess work. No more wondering what your boss really thinks. Take a proactive role and make an appointment to find out what your areas of improvement are—then set out to command and conquer.

8. Give your Mac a makeover. Those icons you have splattered all over your desktop? The thousands of uncategorized emails in your inbox? And you wonder why that feeling of anxiety sets in every time you load up. Organize, archive, and don’t waste a single second searching for the files you need.

9. Maximize mistakes. True, it’d be nice if you could eliminate them altogether, but it’s inevitable you’ll mess up now and again.  Turn these “oh no’s” in to opportunities by fessing up immediately, starting fresh, and coming back with more to offer than before.

10. Turn yourself off. No calls during dinner, no Blackberry in bed—whatever the rule needs to be, detach yourself from work for at least some portion of the day and use the down time for rejuvenating.

-Stephanie Reese of WORKS by Nicole Williams

Nicole is the bestselling author of three books, the latest of which, Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success, has been optioned by Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, the producers behind the Academy Award winning films American Beauty and Milk. The company she founded, WORKS by Nicole Williams, is the go-to resource for career-minded young women and was named one of Forbes magazine’s Top 10 Career Websites for Women. You’ve seen her on TV—as a regular guest on Today, Good Morning America and CNN—and in print, where her advice has appeared on the pages of ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Marie Claire and the Wall Street Journal. Nicole was recently named LinkedIn’s Connection Director. She is also Shape magazine’s career contributor, where she’ll continue to spread her sexy mix of dating tips turned career strategies to young women everywhere.

GIRL TALK TIME: What do you think of these tips? How are you revamping your career / work self in 2012?

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