As 2012 approaches, chances are you are reflecting on the past year and prioritizing your goals for the new one. Maybe you are considering your exercise regimen, planning a relaxing vacation somewhere you've never been, or reevaluating your financial investments after a tricky year. Bank accounts and portfolios inevitably enter everyone's consciousness more distinctly at the beginning of a new year. Who doesn't want to begin the year healthy--both physically and economically.

When planning your finance and investment strategy for 2012, it is essential that you remember to also include your career management strategy for the coming year. Your job or business is your greatest economic resource, and thus, it is imperative that you learn to manage it strategically just as you would any other asset, but even more stringently.

Let's face it--we live in turbulent economic times. Nothing is guaranteed and nothing can be taken for granted. Even senior executives sometimes lose their jobs. Even top companies can unexpectedly fail. But even when you find yourself on a never-ending streak of wins, there is always a new way, or a more exciting way, or a more fulfilling way to win. Never allow yourself to become too comfortable--plan wisely for both the unexpected and for the unprecedented.

Anyone with financial investments of any kind understands the importance of a sound financial management strategy. Ironically, fewer understand the necessity of a career management strategy. The irony exists in the fact that career management is financial management. Think of it as another portfolio, but your most important one. With that in mind, consider just what you want to achieve with this portfolio in 2012.

Are you looking to retire early and thus you are planning for your succession? Or, are you looking to exit an underperforming sector for one that is more robust and stable (BlueSteps will be looking at career transitions in 2012)? Perhaps you have your priorities set on securing a new board seat or a cross-border opportunity.

Whatever your career goals are for the new year, you need to be certain you are maximizing the steps and resources to fulfill them. When is the last time you revised your resume or LinkedIn profile? Have you found opportunities lately to get your name in the media, either through speaking engagements or contributing an article for a blog? Maybe you would like to expand your online presence by joining a new social network and utilizing it specifically for content related to your career. Or, perhaps now is a good time to consult a designer for help setting up a professional website to highlight your expertise and accomplishments.

All of the aforementioned are healthy steps to take your career management by the reigns, and at the same time, make yourself more visible to executive recruiters.

Coaching is also an excellent idea at the start of a new year. With a BlueSteps membership and the purchase of an executive resume from BECS (BlueSteps Executive Career Services), receive a free one-hour coaching session with our seasoned executive coaches, valid now through January 12, 2012. Our coaches will help you plan and execute a winning strategy to rise to the top in a competitive search environment. To take advantage of this promotion, simply email us, with your resume/CV attached, for a complimentary consultation to learn how you can better present your value, your contributions, and your executive brand.


This article was written by Joe Chappell from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).
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