Working in highly complex and diverse technology fields, being a successful engineer requires the willingness to train extensively and the flexibility to continually upgrade present skill sets by acquiring new sets of knowledge & industry insights, just to stay up to speed with market changes. This takes a big toll on many engineers and requires planning and preparation so that you can successfully hit your career goals within the 12-month period you have in 2019. With the New Year almost upon us, it is time to take inventory of your progress to date, and of your professional career goals as well as to create a new set of goals. That said, the following is an overview of three of the best New Year’s career resolutions for engineers in 2019.
Set New Goals – An Unattainable Job
Part of being a successful engineer is to be genuinely interested in acquiring industry knowledge, learning new skills, and utilizing them to perform better in the job market. All the fields of engineering are known for being highly technical and complex, therefore, in order to keep up with the times, you must learn (and train others on) new skills regularly.
Want to make the impossible come true? Consider setting new goals that seem un-achievable. These are career goals that you don’t have the skills for and would require you to completely transform in order to accomplish them. This could be getting a new job in a totally new role or at a company you couldn’t imagine yourself in, or by taking on the role of an Engineering Manager for the first time in your career.
Be sure to set big enough goals that will drive you forward, beyond what you think is possible. Set goals that will require you to stretch further and try your hardest to achieve them. Before the new year begins, write your goals down and commit to them so that on January 1st you can hit the ground running.
Find New Mentors – Your Future Self
Another one of the top New Year’s career resolutions for engineers should be to find new mentors. Especially if or when you set new goals that seem un-attainable at the time. In such scenarios, mentors can provide you with invaluable knowledge for years on end. For this purpose, LinkedIn is a great resource and tool, especially if you decide to allocate some of your time to building your professional network in 2019.
Look for those whom are 5 to 10 years ahead of you in the career you both admire. Search for someone who resembles you; someone who works in the job you want to have and the company you want to work for 10 years from now. Before you reach out to them for the first time, draft a clear and concise message as to WHY you want to connect with them. Be honest and transparent with your approach. Most people like and will help other people when they are genuine and show no hidden agendas. For example:
“I’m expanding my network in the <INSERT INDUSTRY NAME> and you looked like a great person to connect with. I’d love to connect and learn more from you, if you’re open to it!”
Stay true to your words and don’t ask them for a job or a referral to a job (or anything that obligates them to do something for you) on the first message you exchange. You must practice patience while networking. Things won’t happen overnight. You must nurture your network and build long lasting conversations before expecting things to work for you. With that said, having multiple mentors is most ideal as they allow you to learn multiple perspectives, expand your network multiple folds, and find more growth opportunities, among other things. Aim to spark valuable conversations in order to build genuine relationships, that’s the secret.
Take New Risks – Enter Danger Zone
Lastly, learning how to take calculated risks and actually taking action are two of the most important elements of success. Most of us fall in love with learning/reading about other people’s career journeys and how they were able to take big risks and overcome adversity, but won’t act on making our own goals come true by taking relative risks.
In fact, experts assert that taking risks is especially beneficial to engineers as it allows you to uncover your strengths and weaknesses and take more control over your professional destiny moving forward. Therefore, by planning to take calculated risks next year, you will be helping yourself progress towards achieving your engineering career goals.
Entering the danger zone can be taking on a new client that you thought you couldn’t handle or asking to be included on a new project which will require a lot from you, more than what you’re comfortable with. Deciding to take on new risky products that perhaps will fail is a differentiating factor of those engineers who forever will be known for something extra-ordinary. Do you want to be that person?
Overall, creating New Year’s career resolutions is a great way to not only assess your present situation, but it also helps you to plan for the future. By taking big risks, setting huge goals, and finding new mentors to help you reach those goals, you will be well on your way to having an amazing 2019 in engineering.
No matter if you choose to use these three tactics or not, ensure you are clarifying your career goals before the year ends. If you’re unhappy with your present job, then you can take control and take any action that takes you closer to your ideal career. You are in full control; all that you need is a bit of courage to get started. And if the organization you’re currently working with isn’t investing in their employees or if there aren’t any opportunities for you to grow into, then perhaps it’s time to leave in the pursuit of happiness.
About Nader Mowlaee:
Nader is a career coach who believes you can get everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want. His mission is to enable engineers to break away from their fears and create the ideal lives and careers they desire. You can learn more about Nader through his LinkedIn account.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about your New Year’s career resolutions.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success