Ok, so... January is almost over and you are struggling with continuing to get in shape and pay off the holiday credit. (You're in good company! I'm right there with you!) Have you taken a few moments to figure out how to make yourself a better candidate for a new job opportunity in 2014?

Whether or not you are currently employed, take a moment to think about self improvement. What did you do in 2013 in order to make yourself more valuable to the company you work for, your manager, or your future employer?

Many people expect that they have the right to be promoted/hired while doing nothing out of the ordinary. Those individuals getting promoted are doing quite a bit out of the ordinary of their everyday job. Some ideas may be:

-Take a class in your field. Better, enroll towards a higher level degree than what you currently have! In my years of recruiting, I have never heard someone being passed over on a promotion for having too much education. It's never too late, and there are many online courses to assist older students with families and careers in completing collegiate degrees.

-Start a blog. Get intricately familiar with your subject of choice! Your writing and communication skills are sure to improve! Talk to them. Maybe even help them too! You can start a local networking event if you know enough people from various industries.

-Get involved in your community. Becoming a more well-rounded person makes you a better employee.

-Most importantly, make sure your attendance is impeccable! Nobody likes a pilot who cancels at 3 am before a flight! Stay until the job gets done. Put in 100%, consistently, every day.

Let's set the bar higher for 2014! No more mediocrity. Let's show the world how it's done and all get promoted!!!
When I walk into a store or restaurant, it is very obvious to me, as a patron, in under 15 seconds if the person assisting me is collecting a paycheck or happy to be in their role. It sometimes takes even less time than that.

How are some ways I can tell? The first is eye contact, followed by a smile. Someone who truly wants to provide excellent customer service shows that he/she is happy to assist you. Acknowledging the client/customer/patron and offering assistance in a timely fashion goes a long way towards customer satisfaction, even if that involves saying: “I will be with you in just a moment.” I understand if you are busy seating other customers or helping them with a product. I am not nearly as pleasant when you excuse yourself to continue gossiping to your colleague. If I am not acknowledged within 60 seconds in a restaurant which is supposed to have someone seat you, I get up and leave. If no one is interested in earning money that I am willing to tip with, I have someone else nearby who would be happy with my tip!

Be courteous! Go the extra mile. Your customers will thank (and tip) you!