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Ways to Improve Your Career

It’s the time of year when you can mentally swipe away all the clutter and mess of 2011 and start fresh and clean in the year 2012. New Year’s is almost upon us and the time to refresh and restart is right along with it. While it’s unrealistic to think you can wipe away all of last year’s problems and issues with the onset of a new year, there is a certain refreshment and delight taken in the idea that, ahead of you there is a whole year of untouched ground and possibilities. What will you do with all of this untouched, untamed ground?

It’s common for people to bask in the new year’s and make resolutions and goals for what they want to see themselves achieve in the year to come. Fitness gyms see a spike in membership, healthy foods and diets soar and thousands of men lean on bended knee all in hopes of starting anew and fresh. So thinking about how you can improve upon your career should go hand in hand with all other New Year’s reflections. Even for the most skilled and respected employee, there are always ways to improve. Take a look at some of these steps you can take in the new year to improve your career and, of course, enjoy the crisp freshness of January 1st, even if it is only for a day.

Set Goals
This is an obvious one, but it’s always important to note that setting goals is a great way to gauge what you want and also a good way to track your success. The best way to do this is to realize all of the goals you want to reach and write them down. Pin point which ones are the easily attainable ones and figure out ways to work on those, first. Chances are there are many smaller goals that you will have to reach before you can reach one of your long-term, large goals.

Network
In the present job market, you can never hear the phrases “network, network, network” or “it’s not what you know, but who you know” too many times. It seems that universities and businesses alike boast that networking is one of the easiest ways to secure a job these days. While virtual networking serves its purpose, nothing compares to actual, face to face interaction. By talking to someone in person you can get a good idea of who they are and how they operate and they can make the same opinions of you. When you go to seminars, conferences or industry events you should always take business cards with you and maintain a professional demeanor when meeting new people.

Work Harder
Perhaps another obvious one, but it’s an important step. Even the hardest of workers can work harder and better themselves. Continually work towards exceeding what is expected of you and demonstrate all of your capabilities clearly. As a junior level employee, you can likely find better, more efficient ways of completing your tasks and that, in turn, will free up your time so you can take on more work. Asking for more work and more tasks is a sure way to stand out and get on the good side of your higher-ups.

Consider Consulting Work
If you are one of the many Americans that find themselves unemployed in the new year, consider searching for a different kind of job. If you have been unemployed for a long time, rather than just accepting the gap in your resume, attempt to find contract work while you search for a full-time position. It may not be what you want, but keeping busy is always a good idea and it gives you a paycheck where before you had nothing. Furthermore, contract work may lead to full-time work if you show that you are capable and competent.

SOURCE: Forbes
IMAGE: Courtesy of Aftershox

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter