At CareerHMO, we work with thousands of people looking to improve their careers. Whether it's finding a new job, getting a promotion, or even changing career directions, we study what works and then share the best practices with our members. We're constantly updating our coaching, community, and content to reflect the shifts we see in the industry. Might sound boring to you, but we're career geeks--we love it!

How to Stay Relevant in 2016

Using in-depth research, we provide members with new tools and resources annually to help them with what we know will be the must-do career development activities in the coming year. For 2016, there are eight things you'll want to master to stay relevant and valuable as a professional:

  1. Build your interview bucket list. Now more than ever, every job is temporary. You need to do your research and keep handy a list of companies where you would be interested in working. You never know when you'll need to put a job search in high gear. Better to build a list of companies that make products and services you admire and start to connect with people who work there. Eighty percent of all opportunities come via referral. Today, your network is your net worth in your career. Time to optimize your network should you need to tap into it.
  2. Take an online course. A hot topic in recruiting is the skills gap. Companies claim they can't find the talent they need. As a result, the online training world is exploding with opportunity for companies looking to upskill and prepare workers. LinkedIn's recent acquisition of is a great example. Now you can take an online class, get certified, and two clicks later, post it on your profile for recruiters to see. In the future, it is predicted, we will all be required to take online courses on a regular basis to keep skills current. If you haven't taken an online course before, now's the time. 
  3. Keyword optimize your LinkedIn profile. With more than 400 million users and growing daily by two people per second, LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world. All recruiters are using it to proactively find the talent they need. Job postings have become a less effective way to attract talent. Nowadays, recruiters jump on LinkedIn, throw in some keywords that highlight the hard skills needed for the job (look at your Endorsements section of your profile to see what yours might be), and out comes a nice list of talent they can reach out to. If you want recruiters coming to you, you must spend time building keyword density on your LinkedIn profile.
  4. Own your workplace persona. There are eight key workplace personas. These are the team players needed to make a company run. Every company needs a combination of all eight. And since you can't be all of them, you need to know A) what your top personas are and B) how to leverage them. When you understand your value and contribution to the team, you can use it to your advantage. To get started, this online quiz will quickly tell you what your top workplace persona is.
  5. Update your reading ritual. Any of us can get into a reading rut. We subscribe to the same online sources and read them each day. Soon, we're skimming the titles and barely taking time to read an article fully. If this is you, it's time to shake things up and find new reading sources. Look for fresh perspectives that will challenge your thinking and keep you engaged. Diversity of thought is the key to creativity.
  6. Leverage a failure. We all make mistakes. It's time to pick one and make the most of it. Use the Experience + Learn = Grow model to plan a way to leverage what you learned from the failure. Being able to share how a failure made you a better professional is one of the best career stories you can tell. Everyone loves a good comeback story!
  7. Write something helpful. Personal branding is here to stay. You must create tools that showcase your expertise. Posting original articles on LinkedIn or another platform can help you establish your credibility and give you something to share with your network. Writing isn't self-serving; it's about serving your network so they understand who you are and will know when to tap into you for help. That's what personal branding is for: to keep you in the minds of your peers. Why? Review No. 1 on this list to remind yourself about the importance of your network as a referral engine.
  8. Start a new hobby. If I could pick a slogan for professionals in the new gig economy, I'd make it "Always be learning." A great way to keep yourself engaged with learning is to start a new hobby. Not only does it relieve stress and give your mind a break from your daily routine, it also helps stimulate creativity and inspires you to learn more. More important, you never know when that hobby career could grow into your next full-time role.

Career Improvement Always Boils Down to One Thing

Whether your  career is a hot mess or you're successful but want more, you'll need to do one thing to get what you want: Take action.

My new favorite quote comes from Larry Bossidy:

We don't think ourselves into a new way of acting, we act ourselves into a new way of thinking.

Completing even one of the activities above will help you feel more empowered in your career. And, as we see inside CareerHMO, once you get going, it gets easier to keep going. All that's left to ask yourself is, "What am I waiting for?"