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Nine Sure Fire Ways to Boost Your Career By Tom Olson

1. Differentiate yourself using a Personal Value Proposition. A PVP a description of how your unique mixture of five key elements creates and/or adds value for an organization and the people in it. A personal examination of these elements reminds you of all the strong, positive things you bring to the table and it points out the gaps you need to close before you can position yourself more effectively. Examine each element separately, combine all the data and created a succinct summary of what you have to offer.

The five elements are:

  • The knowledge you have about the events and trends in areas critical to or of most interest to your company and clients;

  • The kinds of internal and external networks that you can tap into to meet corporate/client needs;

  • Your ability to generate and implement superior solutions to organizational issues and concerns;

  • The academic, technical, or interpersonal tools you can bring to bear in key situations and; finally,

  • The personal attributes and strengths you have that sets you apart from others in the organization.

2. Describe yourself in terms of the outcomes you create, not the activities you engage in. Fashion a one-line proclamation, a marketing slogan if you like, that reflects the outcomes you create for your company and its customers.

3. Make it your personal mission to always make others, including your boss, look good. Someone once said, “you can have anything you want; all you have to do is give others what they want.” While there is the odd exception to be sure, most people are fair and honest—willing to share credit where it’s due. Making others look good sweeps you up in their success and almost guarantees that they will help you enjoy successes of your own.

4. Be a can-do person; take to heart the words of the old song, “the difficult I can do right now; the impossible will take a little while.” Instead of saying “I’ve never done that,” say, “I’ll learn how to do it.” Don’t be afraid of steep learning curves. Remember the organization hired you because you were smart. Look for the opportunity in difficulties rather than the difficulties in the opportunities.

5. Develop success from failures. Don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes. But if you do either take responsibility—don’t project or rationalize. Admitting a mistake or failure and moving forward is proactive not reactive. Above all, identify and remember the learning opportunities in the situation. Forget about everything else and move on.

6. Ask for help. IQ expands exponentially. Together, two people bring four times the intelligence. Super-hero individualism is often counter-productive.

7. Remember the Pareto principle, or the 80/20 rule as it’s more commonly known. Eighty percent of your effectiveness comes from twenty percent of your activities. Manage your priorities and don’t waste time spinning your wheels by engaging unimportant activity.

8. Get yourself in front of an audience. Learn to make effective presentations and make as many as you can. Good presentations are the mark of a true professional. You, your ideas and skills receive broader corporate exposure that, in my experience, can result in challenging new assignments, larger budgets, greater general recognition and even raises and promotions.

9. Develop and use internal and external networks, both formal and informal. People who network well often receive and move information faster, cut through organizational politics more quickly and, create solutions better suited to the needs of their companies. Research in different types of organizations shows that those who develop and use networks usually get to serve on more successful teams, receive early promotions more often, get higher compensation, and get better performance reviews.

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