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A new type of resolution

Lose weight. Stop smoking. Watch less TV.
New year’s resolutions are all about self-improvement — about living a healthier and happier life.
By and large, these resolutions center on life outside the office.

Lose weight. Stop smoking. Watch less TV.

New year’s resolutions are all about self-improvement — about living a healthier and happier life.

By and large, these resolutions center on life outside the office. Yet, when so many of us spend so much of our lives at work, shouldn’t we set more goals focused on our careers?

Here’s a new type of resolution for 2011: keep track of your success at work.

What does this mean? It means setting aside a few minutes each week or month to quantify and document your results on the job.

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For example: if you work as a retail sales associate, keep a weekly tab of the sales dollars you’re responsible for bringing in. Store this data in an Excel chart so you can easily compare monthly totals and view periods of increased or decreased sales.

This record will allow you to accurately update your résumé with the sales dollars you brought in during the year.

Go one step futher and ask your supervisor for the total monthly sales figures so you can calculate the percentage of sales you were responsible for. These numbers will be influential when it comes time to discuss a raise or promotion.

Although progress and success in many jobs can’t be quantified like they can for a sales position, you can still track your accomplishments.

Record the projects you’ve been responsible for. Did you finish the project on time? If so, how many days earlier than the expected completion date? Did you finish the project under budget? If so, how much money did you save the company? How does your project outcome compare with similar past projects?

If you’re tasked with finding new clients, how many did you attract and what were they worth? What did you do to contribute to your employer’s success?

Take a closer look at how you spend your nine-to-five time. Review your job description and assess whether you’re meeting or exceeding those expectations. Set new goals for yourself. Strengthen your résumé.

When you interview for a new job or inquire about promotion in your current job, documentation of your capabilities will prove invaluable.

Taking a cooking class, learning to play the guitar, doing push-ups every day — while these are fine resolutions, try applying your enthusiasm toward a new resolution for your career: keep track of your success at work so you can get ahead in 2011.

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Jeremy Striffler is a consultant for Compendium Inc., which provides marketing and management services for small businesses and individuals in the Twin Cities. Jeremy specializes in commercial real estate and retail and writes the blog, Simply Ask Compendium, which offers advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs. He is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Young Professionals of Twin Cities.