New Year New Beginning 

The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection and planning. While I personally don’t subscribe to the ‘New Year, New You’ school of thought, I do believe that the new year creates an opportunity to take stock of where you are, and where you want to go, in particular it’s a good time to reassess your goals in relation to your career.

So why not make resolutions that could kick-start or get your career going in the right direction? Here are some of my recommendations:

■ Read more – reading does wonders for your mind, and if you choose articles, blogs and books related to your work, overtime it will enhance your understanding of your industry.

■ Examine ways to reduce stress – we’ve never been busier or more switched on and nothing impedes creativity more than stress, so take a look at how you can reduce it in your life and work.

■ Ask for feedback – the only way to progress is to be aware of the areas where you might need to improve upon. Don’t be afraid to ask your manager or boss for feedback and don’t take constructive criticism personally, see it as an opportunity for growth.

■ Join a professional organisation – in any industry being connected to a professional organisation can enhance your career. Not only will there be events and workshops you can attend but it will give you a chance to gain insight from your peers. I’ve been a member of The Insurance Institute of Galway throughout my 30-year career and I’ve found it hugely beneficial.

I spoke with a few colleagues to get their opinions on career resolutions. Clare Grimes, from Auray Insurance Assessors and Board Member of The Insurance Institute, said, “At the beginning of a year its essential to plan the ways in which you intend to progress your career. My main piece of advice is to think of the bigger picture, what is your end goal. From here you can look at the smaller steps you need to take to get you there, and plan to tick these off in the year ahead.” John Walsh, from Hastings Insurance Brokers and President of The Insurance Institute of Galway, said, “I recommend attending networking opportunities as it allows you to make new connections and ensures you are up to speed on trends in your industry.

There are many events you can attend, including those run by The Insurance Institute of Galway, the Galway Chamber of Commerce and other professional organisations. Most of these events are free but the reward from participating is invaluable.”

Obviously career development is personal to each individual, but hopefully some of these suggestions will help to get you thinking about ways to improve your career.