Moving On Up: How to Get Ahead in Your Career

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Moving On Up: How to Get Ahead in Your Career
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Building your career and standing out in the office is no easy feat. It requires that you put in additional hours, have the ability to simultaneously lead and work in a team setting, and pay careful attention to details -- including what you wear and how you navigate tricky office situations. Understand that all that hard work will ultimately pay off, but a promotion, or even acknowledgement, may take time and patience in the meantime.

Put in Extra Time
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Put in Extra Time

Sacrificing your time for the sake of your business' success is an excellent way to demonstrate you're promotable. Roy Cohen, a career counselor and executive coach advised "Stay late when you need to, roll up your sleeves when a job needs to get done. When you always leave work at 5 or 6 -- whether or not the work is finished -- or you are nowhere to be found to clean up a mess, you may be viewed as a career 'lightweight' who lacks commitment to the company."

Roy Cohen, Career Counselor and Executive Coach

Adapt to Change
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Adapt to Change

"The one thing that is constant is change and your ability to handle it will help you as your career grows," stated Abby Kohut, a career expert and author of the book, "Absolutely Abby's 101 Job Search Secrets." Employees who resist change make it difficult for progress to happen in their workspace. Adapting -- and even thriving -- amid change is an admirable, aspirational quality.

Abby Kohut, Career Expert, Speaker and Author

Bring Your Peers Together
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Bring Your Peers Together

Outright competing with your peers doesn't serve your mission of getting promoted in the long run. "Instead of trying to compete with your peers, help bring the team together," advised Kohut. "Leaders are seen as management material."

Master Office Politics
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Master Office Politics

The ability to master the game of office politics may seem unimportant, but canniness in this department is key to getting ahead in your career. That's true for any field. "Whether it involves learning how to schmooze with colleagues or avoiding land mines, success in organizations involves navigating situations which often have more to do with personalities and power than meaningful contributions to the bottom line," said Cohen. "It also means learning how not to take sides in a dispute where the outcome is uncertain."

Help Your Company Make More Money
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Help Your Company Make More Money

All companies prioritize their ability to make profit. When you actively help your company make more money, it demonstrates how much you have invested in them. "Communicate new ways for the company or department to increase revenue," advised Kohut. This can be as simple as streamlining work to save money or as complex as proposing a new business idea.

Dress for the Job
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Dress for the Job

"You should always dress at least as well as your peers, but dressing above the level will impress the executives who might be watching," said Kohut. A good rule of thumb is to dress for the part you want to play. "In my case, I was a manager and wanted to be promoted to a director level. I started noticing what my VP wore to work every day and realized that the quality of my suits were less than adequate in comparison to hers. By dressing like the level I wanted to be, I was eventually promoted."

Speak a Foreign Language
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Speak a Foreign Language

Not everyone speaks a foreign language. If you do, make sure your company knows it. This also applies if you've lived abroad or have other cross-cultural life experience. "Global corporate citizens are far more valuable than ever before as products and services are outsourced overseas," said Cohen. "Knowing how to operate in a foreign culture is both empowering and in demand."

Demonstrate Leadership
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Demonstrate Leadership

Consistently establish your ability to lead. "Volunteer to lead a special project that has the potential to offer access to, and the attention of, leadership and which will add measurable value to the bottom line," suggested Kohut. You could also offer creative solutions to nagging company problems or volunteer whenever your boss requests additional help.

Take the Credit
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Take the Credit

If you successfully completed a project, offered a helpful solution or in any other way improved your company's well-being, make sure you get the credit. "Don't share the credit if it belongs to you," advised Cohen. You put the effort in, so you should be acknowledged for it.

Keep Learning
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Keep Learning

To get ahead in anything, you must engage in constant learning. This can be done through workshops, at-home reading or even continuing education classes offered online or locally. "If you don't know how to do it, learn how," advised Cohen. "When you are the go-to person on matters that are beyond the ability of your colleagues, you gain in stature and importance."

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