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Secrets to Jump-Starting Your Career

Istock_workplacet’s Sunday night and you’ve got the blues again. It’s not that you don’t like your job. It’s just that sometimes you don’t feel… inspired.

No doubt it’s time for a change. But don’t dust off that resume just yet. Instead, try jump-starting your current career with these eight simple tips:

Be great at what you do.

Love your job. Or at least pretend you do. Apply yourself to whatever project or assignment is on your desk right now. Your enthusiasm will be noticed and appreciated. Maybe it even will be contagious!

Mind your business.

Make sure you know about developments in your company. Read all company materials, meet new managers, and routinely talk with people who are in “the know.” Understand why changes are occurring and what impact they will have on your department.

Take a risk.

Decide to stick your neck out for the sake of gaining exposure. Volunteer for that unpopular, high-risk assignment that your boss doesn’t have time for, and succeed at it. You’ll soon become the department hero.

Keep learning.

As good as you may be at your job, new technologies are continually being developed. Learn new skills to help you do your job more effectively, quickly and inexpensively and you automatically increase your value to your company. Plan to attend at least one training session every six months.

Join a professional organization in your field.

Sending your dues and reading the newsletter isn’t enough. Strive to take a leadership role or at least become an active participant. Both will reflect positively on you and your employer.

Toot your own horn.

If you’re doing a great job and not getting noticed by higher-ups, maybe you’re not talking about yourself enough. Don’t expect them to notice you. Part of your job is to bring yourself to their attention. It’s possible to get the word out about your accomplishments without boasting. Consider praising a subordinate on your project team during a conference call. Acknowledging her success shines the spotlight on you as her manager.

Expand your network.

If you’re good at being friendly and extending yourself, it’s time to start thinking strategically about that skill. Get to know people in your industry who can help you. Maintain contact with a network of leaders who are on top of your field. Make a commitment to invite someone to lunch or play tennis at least once a month.

Find out what’s important to your boss.

Now that you know your company inside and out, it’s time to know your boss. Don’t just build a good rapport. Find out what’s important to her (and her boss) and what motivates her. Then help her achieve her goals. When you do, you just might be first in line for that exciting new assignment, promotion and well-deserved raise.

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