Your 2021 Career To-Do List

career change new year

Ready to put 2020 in your rearview mirror?

Most of us are eager to move on from a year that has been filled with challenges and uncertainty. Although 2020 is almost over,  there’s still plenty of time to end it on a high note – by putting together a career plan for 2021.

If you’re looking for a new job, creating a career to-do list is a great way to focus your efforts and get better results. Before you flip the calendar, review this checklist to make sure you’re doing everything within your power to land the amazing opportunity you deserve:

2021 Career To-Do List

Set Your Course

  • Set some time aside for introspection to clarify what you want and value most in your work life.
  • Review potential opportunities and threats. Consider the employment market where you live, your industry’s outlook, and your professional network.
  • Create SMART career goals that take advantage of opportunities available to you while protecting yourself from unnecessary risks.
  • Read this earlier post to learn more about setting career resolutions.


Update Your Resume

  • Choose the best resume format for your field, work history, and goals. If you were laid off or haven’t been working consistently, this post explains how to address resume gaps.
  • Audit your accomplishments. Whether you’ve been in school, volunteering, temping, or in a traditional job, you’ve been learning, growing, and achieving. Take stock of everything you’ve done, adding new job skills, milestones, and successes.
  • Add in your remote work experience. With remote work becoming the norm, make sure you highlight the remote work skills employers want.
  • Revisit your keywords to ensure they’re relevant and will help a recruiter determine, at a glance, whether your abilities align with those needed for an available position.
  • Don’t overlook the obvious! Read this post to avoid common resume mistakes that can cost you the job.

Gather References

  • If it has been more than a year or two since you updated your list of references, take the time now to line up three or four people who are best suited to speak to your qualifications, personality, and professional strengths.
  • Reevaluate your options. In addition to supervisors and managers, consider coworkers, mentors, clients, and even teachers or coaches (if you’re a recent graduate).
  • Proactively, politely and personally ask each person to recommend you for something specific you worked on together. Be precise in your request to avoid getting a generic “they’re a hard worker” type of reference that won’t do much to improve your chances.


Update Your Online Presence

  • Take some time to create or refine your personal brand. This post explains how to define a Unique Selling Proposition that positions you as the ideal candidate in a potential employer’s mind.
  • Review your social profiles to ensure all contact information, links and images are up to date.
  • Update your profiles (especially LinkedIn) to reflect the changes you make to your resume and personal brand.
  • Google yourself to identify any online content that’s out of date or should be removed. Search for yourself in multiple ways, and be sure to check images, news, and blogs to find anything that could potentially knock you out of contention for the job you want.
  • Solicit new recommendations on LinkedIn. Create a process to ask for recommendations throughout the coming year systematically. Mention specifics you’d like each individual to address (so recommendations put your best foot forward), and be sure to thank anyone who provides a recommendation for you.


Looking for a new job?

Start with PrideStaff. As a national staffing service with offices from coast to coast, we have thousands of job opportunities available with leading employers. Search jobs with PrideStaff here.