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6 Ways to Enhance Your Career in 2013

What steps are you taking to enhance your career this year?

Changing jobs is one way, but with the shaky economy, is it advantageous to look for a new job? Unemployment may decline, but with the political unrest, you may not want to be the last one hired in the group. If you are serious about improving your career, think about these six easy ways to enhance your career.

Making friends: Volunteering and taking classes are just two ways to enhance your career and your network.

Making friends: Volunteering and taking classes are just
two ways to enhance your career and your network.

Volunteer. Are you active in your professional association? Are you volunteering at your child's school? What about volunteering at a local event? You may be asking how that can enhance your stature.

By volunteering with your professional association, you will undoubtedly gain new insight from others facing similar issues. You might offer to speak to a class at the high school to share the complexity of changes happening in your field. This endeavor demonstrates the breadth of your industry and established you as a role model for youth. Meeting people in your community may assist in discovering companies that need your products or services.

Take a class. Attending a class at a local university improves your skills and provides new opportunities for networking. Recent training should be added to your resume. Increasing your knowledge base in technology or methodology could increase money in your pocket. Be sure to see if your company pays for this activity. You never know when you may want to interview for an internal or external job. You need to keep your education fresh with the latest advances, like big-data or cloud technology. Knowing new processes and technology definitely adds value to your career.

Use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not just for job seekers. Connecting with people in other companies who perform similar jobs provides ready resources when you cannot determine a solution to a problem. You want to engage in the LinkedIn Groups for your industry, such as Purchasing or Quality to participate in the discussions. Adding to your digital footprint is actually branding your background. LinkedIn is a powerful tool if you know how to use it. Two hours of personal study will prevent you from being overwhelmed by this powerful tool. Online and professional training are readily available.

Read related books and online information. Instead of reading the latest Jack Reacher novel, reach for a book on trends in your industry. Take an online training session or listen to a TED Talk. If you schedule it into your week in advance, you are far more likely to actually finish the book or attend the webinar.

Exercise. The mayor in our fast-growing town of Plano, Texas, exercises daily, if he can. Surely you should be able to find two or three hours a week for exercise. Whether running, going to the gym, or walking the dog, you must exercise. Working all the time can create health issues. Not only will your career be enhanced if you exercise regularly, your new energy will help improve your productivity.

Manage your time. If you are always stretched for time, you may need to use your calendar better. Schedule regular meetings with yourself, your time for exercise, and even the time you spend watching TV. You need relaxation, but if you are too tired to watch TV, you need to budget your time more wisely, both at work and home.

In accounting, you expect long hours. You have deadlines for projects. You know how to schedule business meetings. Treat yourself as well as you treat your colleagues. By blocking time with the door closed and not answering the phone, you may have more time for managing the project, not just complaining about it.

If you want to further your career, you need to heed these suggestions sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you may need a physician, a divorce lawyer, a psychiatrist, or a career coach! If you want to enhance your career, start by working on improving your life and your career will improve along with it.

— Ruth Glover, President of Career Consultations, provides regular articles to help you grow your career. Be sure to visit www.hotcareers.com for additional information and articles. Ruth will expand on each of these ideas in future articles.

36 comments on “6 Ways to Enhance Your Career in 2013

  1. Brian Fuller
    March 7, 2013

    Ruth, great advice here… my personal favorites are volunteering and exercising, especially the latter. We often tend to overlook exercise's crucial role in the whole mind-body-spirit equation. 

    Good health and exercise helps in all aspects of life. 

     

  2. FLYINGSCOT
    March 7, 2013

    I'd be interested to hear what others think of LinkedIn.  My experience of it is that people get in touch predominantly when they are seeking a new job and not so much to exchange ideas to solve work related issues and develop the community.  As such I feel rather disappointed by LinkedIn and hope that my experience is not common.  What have others found of LinkedIn?

  3. Ruth Glover
    March 7, 2013

    LinkedIn is the most important tool for recruiters, but it can help other professionals in many ways.  Finding new customers, reading posts from “thought leaders,” involvement in the LinkedIn groups for supply chain or other industry can all be useful.  Connecting with friends or fomer colleagues can be just plain fun.  I used it once when I was going to Europe to find out about transportation in a certain region.

    The articles about your industry are incredibly valuable to stay up to date with trends and news. I'm sure I'll post more about using LinkedIn. Many use it well, and many…not so much!  

  4. t.alex
    March 7, 2013

    FLYINGSCOT,

    I saw people using Linkedin getting quite a number of references from their connections. All positive references of course.

  5. Daniel
    March 8, 2013

    Ruth, I personally feel that in engineering profession self redefine and continues learning can make a person fit for the industry. In job market, competition is always more and persons having exceptional skills can only be survived on long run.

  6. Ruth Glover
    March 8, 2013

    Excellent response.  Keeping your skills up to date helps. I suggest updating your resume periodically, even if not in job search. Seeing your history and accomplishments is an excellent exercise.  People can no longer afford to be mediocre.  

  7. Brian Fuller
    March 8, 2013

    @flyingscot, I've had a similar experience with LinkedIn, but I blame myself. I agree that much of the big engagement there is people looking for referrals or endorsements and expanding a trusted network (let's not underestimate the value of this on LinkedIn). 

    But there's a world of affinity groups on LinkedIn that many people mine for valuable information and networking. This is always something on my to-do list that gets pushed to next week, alas. 

     

  8. elctrnx_lyf
    March 9, 2013

    It is really important to make sure you are always physically fit and disciplined to make an impression with your colleagues. Along with it is always important to develop knowledge of different products and industries.

  9. Clairvoyant
    March 9, 2013

    Ruth, has it actually been proven that Linked-In is the most important tool for recruiters? What other online tools exist that recruiters may use?

  10. Brian Fuller
    March 9, 2013

    From 2007-2010, I was away from UBM Tech (EETimes/EBN/etc.), working for a PR agency. When 2008-09 came, I was cut back to consulting for this company, so I needed to supplement my income stream.

    I did freelance writing and consulting. But I'd never been a fulltime contractor before. It's nerve wracking. I used a lot of online tools to get the word out, but what really worked in terms of finding and getting new projects was my network, built over many years. 

    That's the core of any good career strategy, as Ruth makes clear: learn always, network relentlessly. 

     

  11. Ruth Glover
    March 9, 2013

    According to a recent Time Magazine article, 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent.  In my Links on LinkedIn, I can reach over 300,000 recruiters, but only, for example, 17,000+ Operations Managers.  Some companies are using FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest with good results, but LinkedIn remains the leader for most companies.  

    Although Monster, Dice and CareerBuilder are still useful tools, finding niche site, such as the APICS Career Center may help recruiters target specific industries. Many recruiters look only at LinkedIn.  Social Media cannot be ignored, that's for sure!

  12. Ruth Glover
    March 9, 2013

    Courses for certifications help improve your skills, plus you meet new people for your network.  You never know when those colleagues will evolve into long term friendships which can be useful in so many ways.

  13. Ruth Glover
    March 9, 2013

    Flexibility and innovation saved the day often save the day.  

  14. Daniel
    March 12, 2013

    “Excellent response. Keeping your skills up to date helps. I suggest updating your resume periodically, even if not in job search. Seeing your history and accomplishments is an excellent exercise.”

    Ruth, if you're not looking for a change, what's the need for periodic updation in resume.

  15. Eldredge
    March 13, 2013

    Hi Jacob,

        I have to agree with Ruth on keeping your resume updated, even if you aren't looking for a new position. First of all, periodic updates help you to assess your curret skills and get them committed to ink. If a long time passes before you update your resume, it is harder to remember even some of the significant accomplishments.

       Also, the timing for looking for a new position is not always on your schedule. People are laid off with no notice for a number of reasons. Even if the company you work for is in obvious trouble, you may be spending all of your time trying to all you can to  help yourself and the company survive, and not have much time for personal career management.

  16. Eldredge
    March 13, 2013

    Network is entremely important. You never know what position the people in your network will have when you need to reach out to them. (or vica versa).

  17. Daniel
    March 14, 2013

    “Also, the timing for looking for a new position is not always on your schedule. People are laid off with no notice for a number of reasons”

    Eldredge, yes there are possibilities for that too. But so far I hadn't updated my resume for the last 8 years.

  18. Eldredge
    March 14, 2013

    @Jacob – I am currently in the job market again, so I find that I am tailoring my resume for each opening.

    I've beeen in your situtaiton as well. Updating your resume can seem like a tedious and unnecessary task. Still, I would recommned doing it.

  19. Daniel
    March 20, 2013

    “I am currently in the job market again, so I find that I am tailoring my resume for each opening. I've beeen in your situtaiton as well. Updating your resume can seem like a tedious and unnecessary task. Still, I would recommned doing it.”

    Eldredge, No comment. Hope for the best and i won't think that it may happen to me too.

  20. Eldredge
    March 21, 2013

    @Jacob – As you wish! But just one more reason to keep your resume updated….At somwe point, a job opening that interests you may become available in your own company. At that point, it would be valuable to have your resume prepared!

  21. Daniel
    March 26, 2013

    Eldredge, yes that's an interesting thing. One more thing now a day's, employers are requesting to their employs for resume updation for onsite and client requirements.

  22. itguyphil
    March 26, 2013

    It's always easy to make long-term friendships with those you struggle to make it through with.

  23. Ruth Glover
    March 27, 2013

    Staying in touch with colleagues after you leave a company is important.  Plus, even if your last job was dreadful, you should not burn any bridges.  You never know when you may want and need to connect with people again. 

    Let's say you left a job in 2010 but stayed in touch with “Bob” who also left when you did.  He moved to a Fortune 500 company and now you see an opening at his company you'd like.  If you've stayed in touch with him, he's more likely to welcome an inquiry about the corporate culture, the opening and with willingness to help you find the right hiring manager.  Although you must send your resume to the company data base, finding someone to walk your resume to the hiring manager, you will get far more attention.  We know that about 80% of jobs are landed through people we know.  Contact doesn't need to be frequent, but staying in touch really helps.

  24. Eldredge
    March 27, 2013

    @Ruth – Excellent advice. Networking is the most effective way to make important contacts during a job search. I would add one more thing – If you happen to be the personin a position to help, by all means do so. Perhaps one day the favor will be returned.

  25. Ruth Glover
    March 27, 2013

    Absolutely!  What's that saying about  “do for others as you would have them do for you?”  And don't be snarky with recruiters.  They keep notes!

     

  26. Eldredge
    March 27, 2013

    I try not to be snarky with ANYONE when I am looking for work!

  27. Ruth Glover
    March 27, 2013

    That's excellent.  I know when people don't know the status of their resume submissions, it can be very frustrating.  

  28. Eldredge
    March 27, 2013

    @ Ruth – Good point, it does get frustrating when on eis wating for a response. Perhaps you could address recommendations and proper etiquette in a follow-up article?

  29. Ruth Glover
    March 27, 2013

    That's a wonderful suggestion.  Thank you.  

  30. itguyphil
    March 28, 2013

    Agreed 100%

  31. Ruth Glover
    March 28, 2013

    Watch for the article on working with recriters within the next week.  Thanks, again!

     

  32. Ruth Glover
    March 29, 2013

    First, I want to thank you for your LinkedIn story.  When I read your comment, I looked for you on LinkedIn, but  there were 23 and not knowing where you live or what you do, I didn't take the time to look at all of them.  Even if I found you, I might not have any concrete suggestions.

    Second, I'm taking this comment seriously.  You sound very frustrated.  I don't have any idea why providing less information would give you the same results.  But having “key words,” which would be words that would encourage recruiters to call you, are important.  

    Third, LinkdIn provides much online assistance to help with the profiles.  Go to the top “bar” and click on “more” and then go to the “Help Center” and click.  Then drill down with your questions.  

    LinkedIn is a powerful tool for both recruiters and others.  I hope this helps.

  33. Ruth Glover
    March 29, 2013

    Hilarious.

  34. itguyphil
    March 29, 2013

    Great. Looking forward to it Ruth!

  35. Eldredge
    May 14, 2013

    At a recent interview, I was asked to bring a powerpoint presentation addressing my background, work history, and accomplishments. I have never had that request before, but I like the fact that it gave me control over my message. For future refereence, I would consider requesting this format.

  36. Ruth Glover
    May 14, 2013

    I think more companies are asking for a work samples during the interview process.  The Powerpoint and presentation you do for an interview certainly can help you highlight your accomplishments while dazzling the interviewer (hopefully).  The company can see both oral and written communication skills which are at the top of the list for most interviewers.  Your tech skills count, of course, but if you cannot explain what you did in the past, how would you interact with the new team.  

     

    Thanks for sharing this information about the PowerPoint during the interview.

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