Strategies to help you soar in 2012

Strategies to help you soar in 2012


 Use these tips to add new tools to your professional toolbox and new contacts to your virtual Rolodex.

1. Nurture your network. Sales strategist and networking expert Alice Heiman, founder of Alice Heiman LLC, says that one important resolution is to spend time nurturing a strong and usable network.

“Start by reconnecting with former colleagues, college buddies, past clients and professionals you haven’t seen in a while,” Heiman says. “LinkedIn is a great tool for this. When used correctly you can gain valuable introductions that can lead to jobs, resources and sales.”

Jeffrey Benjamin, founder of Breakthrough Training and co-author of “Real Life Habits for Success,” says that building a strong professional network is a crucial step for advancing your career prospects. Talent can only take you so far, Benjamin says. Oftentimes, landing a new job or advancing into a better position comes down to who you know — especially true for people who work in small- to mid-size communities, where personal contacts often lead to crucial referrals.

“Being competent helps,” he says, “but that alone will only take you so far. Landing a contract or getting a new job is largely determined by who you know and who knows you. Target the right groups where you can get to know the types of people who can help you advance your professional goals.”

2. Learn something new. Taking the initiative to learn more about your current position, or to learn something new, shows your current employer you’re serious about advancement. Learning comes in many forms — mentoring with a journeyman, asking a superior for advice and guidance, or even through continuing education.

“Don’t wait for an employer to give you training,” Heiman says. “Determine several things you would like to learn in 2012 and make a resolution to learn them.” Take a webinar or workshop, shadow someone who does that job, or read all you can about it. Keep yourself relevant so you are more interesting to your current or potential employer.

Learning something new can entail taking online or on-campus classes. Studies show that in addition to opening new avenues of employment, higher education can lead to higher salaries.

Reading is another key tool anyone can use to gain more knowledge. Heiman suggests setting aside reading time either daily or a set amount each week. Not only will you gain valuable knowledge, but you also can appear smarter in the eyes of your colleagues.

“Determine what you need to read to stay current in your field,” she says. “Read about your clients, your competitors, industry trends and other related business topics. You will always have something to converse about and will appear very knowledgeable to others.”

3. Spend time with positive people. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking, says Benjamin, who has conducted leadership and team building exercises around the world. People’s thoughts and actions are affected by the people around them, he says. Surrounding yourself with positive, productive workers can be beneficial to your career.

“Negativity is the destroyer of goals, dreams and ambitions,” Benjamin says. “Positive people make things happen. Eliminate or reduce the amount of time that you spend with doom-day mentalists.”