5 Powerful Ways to Focus Your Career in 2021

5 Powerful Ways to Focus Your Career in 2021
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Your career could probably use some re-focusing in 2021.  The personal and professional disruption caused by COVID-19 still lingers, but it’s time to think about setting yourself up for success in 2021.  We may not realize it, but we’ve all had to learn some valuable skills this past year that can be very beneficial to our careers moving forward.  For example, your time management skills may have improved considerably in 2020.   We’ve all had to adapt to unexpected circumstances in unique ways this year.  Even those of us who tend to resist change have been forced to learn and grow.

Here are 5 powerful ways to focus your career in 2021:

  1. Set specific, actionable career goals and write them down.

A goal such as ‘I want to do better in my career’ is not a specific, actionable goal.  A specific goal of making 5 new contacts by the end of January is an actionable, achievable goal.  Committing to serve on a committee for an industry organization within the next month is an actionable goal.  Specific, focused steps are the building blocks of a solid career.  Writing down each goal with a time frame for achieving it makes progress manageable.  Refer to your list daily and track your progress.  If you feel you need a career coach to hold you accountable, consider hiring one.

  1. Maximize your professional use of social media.

I really enjoy using ‘fun’ social media, particularly Pinterest.  But professionally, LinkedIn is a better place to connect for career and business success.  Social media can be a fun place to hang out, but it’s important to commit some time to a social media strategy for your career.  Your LinkedIn profile should be professional and up to date.  Your posts and comments should add value in highlighting your area of expertise.  Don’t make the mistake of using LinkedIn to share posts that are better suited to friends on Facebook.  LinkedIn groups can be a great place to connect with people in your field and share industry information.  Commit to joining and regularly participating in at least one LinkedIn group in your field in 2021.

  1. Continue to learn and expand your skills.

There have never been more opportunities for online learning.  List 1 or 2 skills that it would be beneficial to improve and chances are there’s a class or workshop to help you.  If you don’t belong to any trade organizations, it’s time to change that.  I’ve taken dozens of free courses and workshops over the years through my membership in the Directors Guild (DGA) and the Arizona Production Association (APA.)  It’s crucial to continuously update your skills to keep your career moving forward.

  1. Refine your networking.

Before the pandemic, it was impossible to attend all the various industry networking events spread across different locations.  Zoom has made networking a lot more accessible.  From the comfort of home, we can now participate in more events than ever with a wider range of people.  Although you can’t ‘work the room’ as at a live event, you can use the Zoom chat feature or send a follow up email to an attendee you’d like to meet. Many events are even archived for later review.  I hope Zoom events continue to flourish post-pandemic, as I’ve found them to be a valuable way to stay connected with peers.  I believe virtual events are here to stay, so take advantage of them.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone.

You can’t stay within the parameters of what you already know and expect your career to grow.  You must be willing to accept challenges outside your comfort zone.  The entertainment industry constantly challenges us, with the ever changing array of new locations, people and technologies we encounter.  In our industry, we may be more used to being pushed outside of our comfort zones than most.  However, if there’s something you've been continuously avoiding in your career, write it down and challenge yourself to tackle it in 2021.

You’ve already improved your remote work skills just by dealing with the changes that have come about this past year.  We’ve all had to adjust to COVID-19 at work in unexpected ways.  I’ve even been required to take a DGA safety course on COVID-19 prevention in the workplace to stay on the qualification list.  A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined such a scenario.

Next year will undoubtedly bring new challenges.  However, we can commit to staying focused on our career goals and taking the steps necessary to move us toward them.  Challenges bring great opportunities.  Prepare yourself to take advantage of them when they appear.


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