As we begin a new year, our thoughts veer to the future and we start to plan what we want to achieve in the next 12 months. From career to life in general, it is important to be prepared for whatever life throws at you. With that in mind, I am offering you some of my top tips for being ready for the year ahead, both professionally and personally.

1. Keep a master CV and keep adding to it as you progress in your career. However, this is not the CV that you will be sending to potential employers. Each CV that you send out should be tailored to the job description and person specification of the job for which you are applying. Do in-depth research on the career you want and the company you want to work for. Be sure you know what they want from their employees and tailor your CV to suit this. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and detailed as companies and agencies look at it for recruiting.

2. Network, Network, Network – this is so important that I have written it 3 times! The purpose of Networking is to move outside of your usual circle of people in order to develop your business, to learn something new from others, plus it is a great way to make friends. Find a Networking group that suits your needs; in West Cork there is a Chamber of Commerce in every town, and regionally there is Network Ireland West Cork group which supports professional and business women. Or you can move towards the City and find other groups that suit your needs.

3. Be the best version of yourself, but always be yourself. This applies to life in general, and in the workplace. My advise to you is to be yourself and be authentic- Dr. Seuss wrote “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You”. (Plus most people will sense when you are faking it!)

4. Turn off your phone! In a world where we are so connected and switched on, it is quite liberating to switch off your wifi, turn off your phone and not be available to take calls, texts or emails for a while. It is a brilliant way to switch off from work or other responsibilities, get some distance from the worries that overtake your mental headspace. Make it a practice to do this on a regular basis. You will be surprised by the amount of “Aha!” moments you will experience.

5. Don’t be afraid to try new things – Try something new every week, it expands your brain and your comfort zone- do you know what they say about comfort zones? That just beyond the comfort zone boundary great learning happens! Keep learning for personal and professional development. Learn guitar, Spanish or all about ancient Rome, it encourages curiosity and helps to expand your world. Plus you never know who you might meet in the class (back to Networking again!!)

And my final word of advice to you is Commit! Commit to 1 thing that will improve your life this year. It won’t always be easy but I am sure that it will be worth the effort if you stick with it!