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!!!
 
 
The projects I hated most in middle school and high school involved "current events". We had to cut out an article and research in detail what was going on in that area. I did this often, and never understood at the time why this was important.

Fast forward a number of years: I read the paper regularly and am advised of national, local, and state news. I read many articles/blogs/books about my industry. I have been quoted as a subject matter expert because of my vast knowledge of the employment arena, both on a national and local level. I am aware of employment and unemployment trends, fair market value for salaries, and have extensive resources on how to rapidly find information.

Moments ago, I spoke with a student who graduated in Healthcare Management. She had no understanding of last week's healthcare reform bill that the Supreme Court had passed. She had not heard of Occupy Wall Street. I advised her that in order to be a good manager and employee, she needs to be aware of what is going on in the local market.

I am now grateful for those current events projects, because they taught me the importance of gaining knowledge of what is going on around you. Be a subject matter expert. Add value to your employer or potential employer!