Strayer University Asks: What Are Your Career Resolutions?

December 20, 2012

Never Too Late to Further Education; Changing Work Habits Among Top Career Goals for 2013

WASHINGTON – December 20, 2012 – Americans are looking beyond health- and lifestyle-related New Year’s resolutions and are focusing on how to further their careers in 2013, according to a career goals study by Strayer University.

Thirty-three percent of those polled say that in 2013 they would like to achieve career related goals, such as looking for a better job, obtaining job-related training, or pursuing a promotion. Similarly, 33% are also making education-related resolutions, such as mastering a new skill or taking courses towards an academic degree. Nearly as many (34%) say they have a leisure-related goal, including traveling or starting a hobby, while 37% would like to spend more time with family or friends, in their community, or meeting new people. The most popular goal is health-related, with 54% of those polled saying that they would like to improve their health by being more active, eating more healthily or getting more sleep.

“As is typical during this time of year, Americans are assessing where their personal and professional lives are and making decisions about the changes they would like to see,” says Malcolm Munro, a Strayer University business professor and national career and leadership development consultant. “If you have a career-related goal, it’s important to view it through the same lens as any other resolution like getting more exercise or losing weight. You should create a timeline, plan to change habits and try new things, celebrate milestones, and approach your goal with commitment and discipline.”

Those who say they would like to make career changes in 2013 plan to reach their goals mostly by working more efficiently (48%), earning a college degree or an advanced degree (39%), building a stronger professional network (37%), and getting additional job-related training (36%), according to the survey, which is based on polling by Ipsos Public Affairs.

Munro says that Americans are on the right track with these plans. He offers the following considerations for individuals changing work habits or learning new skills:

Work smarter. “What matters in business are results, not the number of hours that an employee is working. Focusing on outcomes is the first step in working more efficiently. It prevents burnout and helps companies retain top performers,” he says.

Build your network from likely – and unlikely – places. “We tend to only think about people that we work with directly or went to school with when we think about building our professional network,” Munro says. “But it’s equally important to seek out individuals that mirror what you would like to do, whether it is finding someone that you can connect with from an industry you would like to break into or who is in a similar leadership position you would like to attain. Professional networking sites and other social media tools can be helpful in connecting you with individuals that you know indirectly or would like to know better.”

Adopt an attitude of lifelong learning. Nearly all (93%) of those polled say it is never too late to finish or further your education. Whether you are taking a professional development course sponsored by your employer or pursuing a new degree, it is important to stay competitive by keeping your skills fresh and relevant. The key is finding a program that meets your specific career goals, provides networking opportunities and fits into your schedule.

“I interact regularly with adult students who are looking forward in their careers by pursuing an academic degree. One thing I always tell them is to also ‘stay hungry,’” Munro says. “No matter what your specific goals are, having a strong sense of drive and passion for what you are doing will take you far.”

Founded in Baltimore 120 years ago, Strayer University offers relevant and rigorous academic programs to working adults, first-generation college students and others who often do not have access to higher education, preparing them for success in today’s competitive job market. Strayer University graduates earn degrees in programs ranging from business administration and accounting to education and information systems.

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About Strayer University
Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has been in operation since 1892. The University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, human resource management, education, health services administration, public administration and criminal justice to working adult students at 97 campuses in 23 states and Washington, D.C., as well as worldwide via the Internet. Strayer University also offers an executive MBA online through its Jack Welch Management Institute. For more information, visit or call 1-888-4-STRAYER (888-478-7293).

About the Survey
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted November 1- 4, 2012. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,000 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the U.S. was interviewed by telephone via Ipsos’ U.S. Telephone Express omnibus. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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