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The New Rules for Career Success

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The times, they-are-a-changing. As a CEO, I've personally hired dozens of people in the last three years without looking at a resume (I use LinkedIn!). Social media has gone from non-existent to a vital part of most people's lives and careers in the last ten years. My parents and their peers often stayed at the same company their entire careers; today, that is virtually unheard of.

In order to help navigate the new landscape in our careers, it's essential to use a new set of guidelines: a new roadmap, with new rules, so to speak. To better understand these new rules, I talked with Dan Schawbel, Gen Y entrepreneur and bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success. I asked Dan to summarize the six key concepts of his new research-driven book, so that we can all use these guidelines in our careers.

Here are six actionable ways to grow in your career in today's world, according to Dan:

1. Become an entrepreneur at work.

After you've proven yourself in your current job, strive to expand your role by taking on new projects that can benefit your company. Look for areas in your company that can be improved and think about opportunities that your company can take advantage of. Do your research and put together a presentation to convince your manager that you can help solve the problem and get them to invest in you. Promote Yourself includes a new study which found that 58% of managers are either very willing or extremely willing to support entrepreneurial employees.

2. Instead of jumping from company to company, look inside first.

Employees may get bored with their jobs and immediately try and leave their company. Instead, find an internal opportunity that challenges you and where you can best leverage your strengths. Instead of looking outside, look inside first. In fact, 73% of managers in the study are very willing or extremely willing to support employees who want to move within the corporation. After you spend at least two years at your job, ask your manager if you can have more responsibilities or to support you if you see a new job posting in your internal job board.

3. Engage in activities outside of the office.

Once you get home from work, that doesn't mean you should shut your professional self down completely. Join professional organizations and social groups so that you can expand your knowledge base and network with like-minded people. Everything you do outside of work can help you become a better employee inside of work. 63% of managers are very willing or extremely willing to support an employee's professional related activities outside of the office.

4. Think twice before you Facebook friend your manager.

Facebook is still perceived as a "social" network, whereas LinkedIn is geared to more professional networking. Only 14% of managers are either very comfortable or extremely comfortable being friends with employees. Before you friend them, find out what their comfort level is and think about how strong your relationship is with them. If you both talk about personal aspects of your lives, they will probably be more open to being friends with you on Facebook.

5. Develop your soft skills.

Managers, and even recruiters, often value soft skills over hard skills. 61% of managers believe that soft skills are more important. Soft skills are intangible but are crucial to career success. They include listening and interpersonal communication, the ability to prioritize work, handling conflicts and even having a positive attitude. Put yourself into as many situations as you can where you can practice your soft skills, get feedback and improve.

6. Don't rush to get your MBA.

A lot of employees who are stuck, or believe an MBA will help them, jump the gun and quit their jobs. The study found that only 10% of managers believe an advanced degree is required for advancement. There are certain fields where you need one, such as accounting, but for the most part, you don't. An MBA takes a lot of time, time that you could be spending gaining work experience. If you're determined to learn new skills, try an online class or two.

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