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How to make a straightforward career

There are several things included in your toolbox when you want to make a straightforward career. Here are the main tools:

1. Switch gears. It sounds chipper and good, but seriously, there is a big difference between a person who expects the best and actually spends his/her time doing his/her best all the time. Instead of just doing what is expected of you, switch gears and do more.

2. Set goals. Successful people are usually goal-oriented. That means they usually know where they'll be in six months, a year, even some already have a five year plan fixed.

3. Continue to learn. Most companies offer opportunities for further training so even if you have plenty to do, take the opportunity to learn new things so that you become even more competitive.

4. Consider continuing your formal education. What are the evening courses you can sign up for to increase and update your formal skills for the future?

5. Be proactive. If you see an area that needs improving or a situation that needs to be fixed, do something about it. The manager will love you for it.

6. Keep updated with technology. It changes rapidly and the people who keep track of what's going, get a head start and become valuable for the companies they work for.

7. Learn how politics work at your company. You don't have to “act” as much as you need to know how things work in terms of new jobs and opportunities. What are the formal paths and perhaps more importantly - what are the informal paths to new opportunities?

8. Get a mentor. Finding a person who has the position you want in the future is a perfect way to learn how to get there. Ask someone you admire to be your mentor and help you get better. Most will be flattered by the question.

9. Become a super expert on the job. Anyone in a company can be the best at something and become the person everyone goes to for answers. If you become this person, you will also become more visible and may even get offers to further education that makes you even better, leading to better jobs and more money.

10. When you become the expert - offer to take care of the difficult things like presentations, writing articles for newspapers and other things that will make you become even more of an important part of the company.

11. Keep an eye on the industry. You do this at trade shows, through newspapers and colleagues.

12. Take intelligent risks. Before you do anything, ask yourself these questions:”What's the worst that can happen if I do this?”and ”What is the best thing that can happen if I do this?”The answers will give you a reasonable picture of the risk involved.

13. Make sure that everything you do is noticed by the right people. It's not enough that you are the best at what you do - others must notice it too, and above all the people who can help you move forward. It doesn't mean that you should shamelessly promote yourself, it's about getting equitable attention to what you do.

14. Assess where you are now. Write down the strengths and weaknesses in the position you have now. Are you getting enough of a challenge as it is now? Do you get the benefits of the job you have? How would your job become better? Consider what you can do to improve your situation.

15. Decide if it's time to move on. Why stay at a job that is dead and has no promises for the future?

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.