When I was young and fresh out of university, full of career dreams, I knew nothing of the concept of managing my career. I drifted along, hoping things would happen for me. Hope, it seems, is not an action plan!

Much better to pro-actively, consciously, determinedly (is that a word?!) manage your career.

Here are two timely tips for starting 2013 with active career management:

1. Create a professional online presence. The best choice for this continues to be LinkedIn and it’s free! It is user-friendly and there are many webinars that take you through making the most of LinkedIn’s features (try Jason Alba’s http://imonlinkedinnowwhat.com/new-linkedin-profile-webinar). (If you are ambitious, you could create your own personal website.)
Why you ask, is this so important as to be one of two tips? Good question! Recruiters will undoubtedly “google” your name before calling you in for an interview, and some have even said that they wouldn’t consider a new grad who did NOT have a LinkedIn profile. This is harsh, unbelievable, but true. And recruiters for large corporations get to call their own shots in their corporation’s best interest.

2. Don’t aim to be just average. In your place of work, be it the part-time or seasonal job that is getting you through school, or your internship, co-op or first post-grad position, you must aspire to do much more than status-quo. If you don’t know how, ask your supervisor or manager for his or her input. Ask how they evaluate your performance, ask what else you can do to rise to the top, ask what they see in you that’s great, and what could be much better.

Careers demand passion, hard work, knowing how your job relates to the “bottom-line.” Business is profit-driven after all. And even not-for-profits have standards that they expect you to meet. Find out how to exceed standards, rise above mediocrity, strive for top-shelf performance and you may find yourself climbing the career ladder rungs without the need for constant job searches!

Of course, to do that you need to be working in a field that has you totally absorbed, engaged, passionate … but that’s another topic for another day!

Working to YOUR career’s success, Stephanie

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