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5 things you can do now to advance your career

Job-hopping is in, especially for those between 18 and 34 years old. But whether you’re actively looking for a new job or just thinking about it, here are five things you can do now to advance your career.

First, network like it’s your part-time job

Ask anyone who’s made it, and they’ll tell you networking has been key to their success. Because the more people you know, the more knowledge you’ll have about what’s going on in your industry and find out where there are opportunities for growth.

Keep in touch with former colleagues and make new contacts at your current company. Set a goal to make at least five new contacts each quarter and actively participate in company-wide meetings.

How do you make new contacts outside of work? Attend conferences, meet up for coffee with contacts through Linkedin, or ask your mentor to put you in touch with five people. Those five people can each put you in touch with others. And your network will multiply exponentially that way.

Join a few professional associations outside of work

The membership fee is often worth the connections you’ll establish. You’ll get access to email listings with job opportunities, networking events, and find new mentors because you can never have enough.

For me, being a part of the Asian American Journalists Association was life-changing. It put me in touch with some of the best mentors in my career (and I met my husband at one of their mixers!).

Don’t be shy about asking for feedback

And not just from your boss – but from your peers and those you manage, too. It doesn’t have to be so formal – you can ask after a meeting where you’ve given a presentation, or over drinks after work. It might feel awkward, but consider it a good exercise in learning how to take constructive criticism and grow from it.

Keep your online profile up to date

In this day and age, recruiters check your online presence first. If there’s a new skill you’ve learned or a big project you completed, add it to your LinkedIn profile immediately — especially if you’re a freelancer.

Learn more, earn more

Companies often have programs to help employees continue their education, so ask about classes or courses offered through your employer. If they don’t offer one, find a class you want to attend and ask your manager for approval. As long as it relates to your current position, your manager will likely encourage you to learn as much as you can.

If you’d rather learn on your own time at home, earn new credentials and skills through sites like Lynda.com or Teamtreehouse.com. Both offer free trial periods, and offer basic monthly memberships for $25 a month which gives you access to thousands of video tutorials.

Have any more career advancing tips? Share them with us in the comments below.

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