16 Expert Tips to Enhance Your Career This Year 1

16 Expert Tips to Enhance Your Career This Year

Why set all your good intentions in January? Here are 16 things you can do to increase your chances of getting the job you want, move you forward in your career, and create a more focused, fulfilling professional life for yourself. Simple, straightforward, and mostly cost-neutral, if you complete each of these suggestions by the end of 2016, you’ll be ready to go, grow, and succeed this year and for many years to come!

  1. Identify your ONE: That one word that describes you, that distilled descriptor of what makes you valuable to any organization. Once you have your ONE, you’ll find that introductions and interviews are easier. When you have a single word to use as a launching point to talk about yourself, the rest will naturally follow.
  2. Create an elevator pitch: Everyone needs an elevator pitch. That quick, polished introduction of you, your skills, values, personal brand, and what makes you special all rolled into a short intro that can be proffered in the few seconds it takes an elevator to get from one floor to another. Write it, refine it, polish it, then practice it! You’ll be ready for any networking event or job interview.
  3. Develop your personal brand: Learn about personal branding and develop your own brand, then protect and polish it so you’re ready to promote yourself and your abilities at a moment’s notice.
  4. Gather your high and low stories: Refine and polish the story of your brightest success that tells a listener who you are at your core and what you’re proudest of, then do the same for the failure that gave you the most growth. Not only are these very common job interview questions, they’ll help you relate and connect when others share their highs and lows. Having a “best failure” ready to offer means that you retain control of a conversation about your weaknesses, too.
  5. Identify your Kryptonite: Focus in on your biggest deficit and work on a plan to fill it with skills, knowledge, experience, whatever is needed to turn a minus into a plus.
  6. Set the ultimate goal: Setting reasonable, reachable goals is great, but what and where is that final destination? Not everyone wants to be a CEO, so what’s your dream job? When you set the big, final goal, the smaller steps to get there become more obvious.
  7. Define your boundaries: What isn’t negotiable in your work life? Some people find that they must have work/life balance all along their career arc, some have a family to support and need a minimum salary, others hate sales…it’s personal for everyone. Define what those boundaries are and you won’t waste your time considering positions and offers that don’t meet your needs.
  8. Push your limits: Take your skills, experience, and self-knowledge and push yourself to do more, bigger, better, at least once this year. Whatever you do, take it to the next level at least one time so you and your chain-of-command learn that you CAN.
  9. Update your resume: Once you’ve pushed your limits and set your ultimate goal, make sure your resume is refreshed with the new information and ready to use. Be prepared!
  10. Collect your experts: Identify career advisors in your network and make the effort to stay in touch, offer your services to them, and use their collective wisdom. Your experts can include mentors, a career coach, even your Uncle Bob. Choose people who are active in their own careers and know you well enough to be good advisors.
  11. Get active and proactive in Social Media: Fill in your LinkedIn profile fully, look back through your past Facebook posts and tweets and begin removing impulse posts, tweets, shares, and photos that could come back to bite you. Move forward with a regular, thoughtful presence on social media.
  12. Perfect your handshake: From networking to interviewing, a good handshake is essential in the modern workplace.
  13. Practice your smile: Your smile is a big part of the first impression you give others. Learn more about different types of smiles and which to cultivate on your face!
  14. Create your career emergency plan: Just like a family disaster plan helps you prepare for fire or hurricanes; a career emergency plan gets you ready for sudden job loss. Are you financially prepared to weather a dry spell? Is your resume ready and updated? Is your social media presence strong?
  15. Learn to say no: It sounds simple, but many of us could use some practice at declining extra work, the job offer that doesn’t fit, even the charitable donation we’re not comfortable giving. We CAN just say no. Learn to give a firm, polite, non-threatening negative answer to the requests you don’t want to fill.
  16. Learn to say yes: Change is daunting. Learn to evaluate opportunities and push yourself to say “Yes!” to the ones that advance you toward your career goal, push your limits in a good way, and can bring you greater satisfaction, personal or professional.
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