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New Year, New You: Five Actionable New Year’s Resolutions for the Pre-MBA Woman

kate-pilbeamAs another year ends, young career women are starting to think about what they want to accomplish in the new year. It’s easy to set goals: get healthy, read more books, spend time with the family. It’s harder to actually achieve them.

Whether you’re considering an MBA, just meandering through the research phase, or wading knee-deep in applications, here are five career-oriented New Year’s resolutions you’ll actually keep.

Buff up your résumé.

If you’re seeking a career change or promotion in 2017, a nice résumé-booster never hurt anyone. Polish up your professional calling card – and consider online courses that can give you the edge over the competition. Consider taking a course in statistics or accounting from a local college or university to boost your quantitative profile. Through programs like HBX CORe, you can learn business fundamentals from Ivy League professors in 12 to 18 weeks.

Dress for success.

Give credence to the cliché: if you want to impress your boss, recruiters or admissions counselors even more, a wardrobe overhaul may be in order this year. If you haven’t splurged on that professional jacket + pants combo, there is no time like the present. Gift yourself a nice pantsuit this holiday season. We won’t tell.

Stop complaining.

Negative thinking and complaining can create health problems including headaches, fatigue and depression. You can lead a more confident lifestyle that will land you the program or job offer of your dreams by learning to quit complaining.

Wake up earlier.

You know what they say – mind over mattress. Being an early riser has both health and career benefits. You’ll have more time to get ready in the morning, gain some “you-time” and become more productive. Plus, sleep research has shown that going to bed and waking up earlier creates a routine, helping to set your body’s internal clock. Remember: The early bird gets the job done.

Get on the phone.

Confused about a section of your application? Sending a follow-up on a job opening you applied for? Wait before you type up that email, and consider the phone as a better alternative. Not only does the phone offer more instant communication, but it can also help you become more confident in your public speaking. You don’t have to do it every time, but when it feels right, why not call? (Interviews will be a piece of cake).

What’s your career-focused New Year’s resolution for 2017?

Kate Pilbeam is Marketing Coordinator at HBX, digital learning offered by Harvard Business School, whose mission is to use technology to enhance our potential to educate leaders who make a difference in the world.

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