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Resolution 4: Jumpstart your career
How to network; the right way to talk to your boss; more than a dozen career-advancing ideas.
December 13, 2005: 4:41 PM EST
By Donna Rosato, MONEY Magazine
Do it now: 10 resolutions

NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) - Whether you want a raise, a promotion, a new job or simply more satisfaction in your work, one strategy fits all: Not only do you have to do your job well, but you have to get other people to notice it. The most efficient strategy for raising your profile? Look for one project to set you apart from the crowd, and make sure you excel at it.

1. Uncover opportunities

Sure, you can earn points by volunteering for extra work. But don't just jump at anything. Identify a task that will have a big impact.

Research ideas Ask a colleague how he got promoted; talk to your boss about her biggest challenges; stay on top of trends in your industry; pay attention to how higherups articulate corporate goals.

Look for the niche you can fill Can you find a novel way to cut costs? Be the first to get trained in some up-and-coming technology? Take on an assignment no one else wants?

Make it count Be sure that the project you pick is something that's valued by your boss, your company or your industry.

2. Make your pitch

Once you've identified an opportunity, you should seek buy-in from your superiors.

Write up a proposal Then pitch it to your boss. Few will say no if you have an idea for how things can work better, says George Hollenbeck, an organizational psychologist.

Ask for guidance Set yourself up for success: Seek input from managers about the best way to handle the project and balance its demands with your regular responsibilities.

Take no for an answer The effort is worthwhile even if your boss turns you down. "By advertising your ambition and enthusiasm, you get noticed," says Robert Lee, an executive coach in New York City. "You're not likely to be a candidate for bigger positions if you never raise your hand."

3. Mark your territory

Establish yourself as a go-to person for your new project, task or area of expertise.

Share your experience Talk with other departments that might find it useful.

Offer to train colleagues You'll get points for staff development and earn the good will of people you work with.

4. Brag -- subtly

You may feel uncomfortable blowing your own horn. But if you don't, no one else will.

Tell your boss A simple way to get credit for doing something beyond the normal scope of your job is to send an e-mail updating your boss about the project, says Alexandra Levit, a marketing communications consultant.

Pass on the good word Forward to your boss and other higher-ups messages praising your work , casting them as an update.

Share the credit Send a thank-you note to others who worked with you on a project, and copy your boss. Talk about achievements in terms of "we," not "I." Your colleagues will appreciate it, and you'll be recognized as both a leader and a team player.

5. Expand your network

Schedule lunch Pick a day once a month to take a client, colleague or other work contact to lunch. And then join a professional association. Consider volunteering on a committee where you can meet others in your field.

Have fun Make time for occasional social functions at work -- the annual holiday party, after-work drinks, the company softball game. You'll be surprised at how information is exchanged and relationships are forged in an informal work setting.

Do unto others Help people you work with or hope to work with someday by giving them contacts and passing along information when you hear about opportunities. In work as in life, what goes around eventually comes around.  Top of page

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