Is your goal to find a new job for the New Year? The New Year can be a time of new beginnings and growth. Now may be the perfect time to take a step back and reflect on your career. Have you outgrown your position? Has the direction that you want to take in the future changed?

If you’ve answered, “yes,” then you might be considering a career change in the New Year. Since making significant career changes can be a lengthy process, it’s a good idea to get started on your goals now. Then, if you have a solid plan in place at the beginning of the New Year, you will be ready to start strong, which will make it more likely that you will meet your career goals.

What is the process of setting a career-related New Year’s goal?

I’ve broken down the steps here.

#1 Plan to Get It Done by the End of the First Quarter

A career change can stay a “nice ideal” if there’s no deadline in place. Commit to a self-imposed deadline of making a change by the end of Q1. Doing so gives you three months to set goals, organize your resume, beef up your online presence to align with the jobs you want, network, apply to jobs and consider several offers before spring. Don’t let an entire quarter pass by without getting your name on the consideration list for Q1 hiring.

#2 Get Clear About What You Are Looking For

One of the most important things you can do to achieve any goal is to be crystal clear about what you want. Unfortunately, too many people set but don’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions — even though they are achievable. One study found that more than 80 percent of people who set a New Year’s goal give up by the second week of February. Why is that? Simply put, it is because they aren’t clear enough. Even though you may think you know exactly what you want when it comes to a career pivot, that’s not always the case. That’s where a career transition coach can help you set career goals that are clear and achievable — two things that are a must.

#3 Polish Your Image

If you have a LinkedIn profile that’s either creaky or nonexistent, now’s the time to create a polished, active presence on this business-focused platform. It’s worth considering a new headshot that you can use on professional media.

Don’t drag a poor resume or cover letter into the next year. Instead, get it professionally reviewed if your resume didn’t get any traction in the last 12 months. Have it edited or re-written by a professional resume writer. But remember! If you are ready to change direction, you will need to craft a resume that supports the direction you want to go, not the career you are trying to leave. Again, a career change coach can help you find clarity and the most useful ways to talk about your new career goals.

#4 Use Data as Inspiration

While many people feel it’s time for a career change, they get stumped on where to pivot. The ideal is to follow a route that feeds your passion and creativity while intersecting with your skills. However, not everyone is lucky enough to know their next step. Looking at data on job openings and industry growth from resources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) can help identify opportunity hot spots. In addition, a career coach can help you determine how and where your background can merge with some of the high-growth career areas.

#5 Connect With People

Connecting with other professionals is one of the essential job search tips. However, this shouldn’t be done with a self-serving mindset. Yes, you want to reach out to industry contacts, former colleagues, and people in leadership roles to get close to potential job openings. However, it’s much better to approach this from the standpoint of curiosity. Connecting for the sake of checking in on how people are doing, learning about changes in adjacent job roles, and seeing how other people are handling all of the changes in your industry will give you a richer perspective.

#6 Be Consistent

Don’t just think of your New Year’s resolution for a career change as a goal you “check in on” once in a while. Nurture it daily! Make it as much of your routine as brushing your teeth, exercising, or having your morning coffee. Consistency is the only way to get to a completely different place in the new year. A career coach will be a great accountability partner because you’ll work on specific steps for getting on the best track for the career change you want.

Peter Sherer is a nationally recognized career coach who offers clarity and confidence to mid-career and senior executives in transition. In just two short days, his rigorous assessment tools enable his clients to identify a meaningful assignment that uses all of their skills and experience. Learn more and get in touch with Peter today.