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Talent Talk: Smart New Year’s Resolutions for Employees

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Recruitment expert Paul Sturgeon shares advice on how employees can best prepare for new opportunities in a new year.

Last week we looked at some possible New Year’s resolutions for hiring managers or human resources professionals. This week we consider this same question from an employee perspective.

This may be surprising, perhaps, but some companies will use the opportunity of a year like 2020 to forgo significant raises regardless of company performance. It is understandable if the company is in an industry space that struggled, but recessions historically put a damper on salary increases beyond the period they last.

Consider asking for a raise if you did not get one because of the COVID recession, or if your salary increases have lagged in general the past few years. We were in a booming economy before the pandemic and it has already bounced most of the way back. We are also in a candidate-driven environment. You just might need to be your own advocate. Do a little research to see where you are at relative to your industry peers and justify what you ask for rationally and professionally.

Update your resume in case you get fired for asking for a raise. Just kidding — that will not happen, but you should update your resume, especially if you have been with your company for a while and are not actively looking. Over time, your accomplishments tend to fade away, and updating the resume once a year is a good way to refresh your own memory and document the contributions you have made to the organization. I received this email last week from a candidate who took this advice: “Paul, Thanks. It was a great exercise for me. I am generally so busy just doing what is needed, I didn’t realize my own experiences and accomplishments. Stepping away and going through my own history has been fun.”

Update your LinkedIn profile. When you update your resume, you have all the information you need to spruce up your on-line business card, which is LinkedIn. This will help people find you for any number of reasons: High school and college reunions, community groups, professional organizations, and so on. And it is the number one way that a company or recruiter might initially see your background.

Make sure you are portrayed in a professional light any other places you appear on the web (like Facebook), or change your settings so that a potential employer cannot see you. These sites are fair game for companies as the information is available to the public.


Paul SturgeonAbout the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at

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