Reflecting on 2018 & What’s Next for My Career

What about me could hurt my career? About a year ago, I read an article about characteristics and habits that often derail careers, and this really hit home for me.

“People with great careers are constantly refreshing themselves by reinvesting in their own development…. People must recognize that professional skills have a shelf life of maybe five years max, and if you don’t refresh inside that timeframe, you are going to find yourself in real trouble.” – Mike Gamson, Senior Vice President of Global Solutions at LinkedIn

This got me thinking about what I’m doing to invest in myself. How am I refreshing my professional skills? How am I building my personal brand? How am I working on my technical understanding of SEO?

reflecting on 2018

At the time, I honestly didn’t have much to say besides that I was fairly active on social media, staying engaged in the SEO community and contributing some articles to my company’s blog.

That was completely fine at one point in my career, but not the 5-year mark. I didn’t want to hit the 5-year mark with that same mentality.

I have a lot to be grateful for when it comes to my career. I’m fortunate enough to say that I’ve spent the past five years at an amazing company, with fantastic people and, more importantly, people who have truly invested in my growth and mentored me from the very start.

But, if I’m not reinvesting in myself, that’s not doing anyone much good. Is it?

Obviously, there are only so many hours in a day and it’s easy to use the excuse that you don’t have time.

Make time for yourself, even if it’s just 30 minutes every morning to work on something that you enjoy, read something that inspires you, learn about a new topic, etc.

A few wins from 2018

Without having set any clear goals around it, over the past year, I’ve been focusing more on my professional skills and personal development. There are still a ton of things that I’d like to do and continue in 2019, but here are a few “wins” from 2018:

Contributed guest post articles on industry-related sites.

2018 was the first year I really focused in on contributing articles to other websites. This is something that I plan to do a lot more of in 2019. My goal this past year has been to build up my portfolio so that I have a few good examples to show some of the sites that are harder to pitch.

Put my technical skills to the test.

A few situations that were out of my control definitely put my technical SEO abilities to the test in 2018, including a site migration gone wrong, blog migrations, acquisitions, a Malware attack… the list goes on. Saying that it was a challenge would be an understatement, but I learned a lot. More importantly, I’m proud of the results. It was also helpful having a strong support system – colleagues, mentors and the SEO community – to provide perspective and advice.

Started taking leadership training courses.

I began a leadership training with Dale Carnegie to develop my management skills and work on my own performance. In fact, I just completed my first Front Line Management certificate today, and will be starting Advanced Management classes in December.

Spent time on my personal brand.

As you can see, my website is finally up and running. This is something I’ve had on my list for too long, and it felt good to finally cross it off. I’m excited to build out more content and spend time developing my personal brand in 2019.

What’s next for 2019?

Like I said, there are a bunch of things that I want to do in 2019, both professionally and personally. I’m really just starting to make a list and set these targets for myself, but there are a few goals that will definitely be on there:

  • Regularly write/publish content on my personal blog
  • Contribute guest post articles to industry-related sites and, hopefully, on at least one of the key marketing publication that I’ve identified
  • Get involved in webinars, podcasts, presentations and other speaking opportunities. (I may already have an SEO podcast interview lined up!)
  • Continue taking Dale Carnegie Training courses and complete the Advanced Management certificate.

As we get closer to 2019, I’ll be building out these goals into a more complete list, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, how are you investing in yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or reach out to me directly via Twitter.

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