We spend more time on our jobs than we do on any other single item in our lives, yet most of us have no specific plan for moving up in our organization. It doesn’t take much to distinguish yourself from those around you, but it does require that you take control of your career path and manage it so that you achieve maximum results. This week and next week, this  column is devoted to some simple suggestions that can make you proactive in your career, rather than reactive. Following are some things that experts in career management suggest you do.

1.   Be assertive in your career. If you see a position or job opening for which you feel qualified, don’t hesitate to let management know you are qualified and that you want the job.

2.   Have a current resume available at all times. Having a resume doesn’t mean you are thinking about leaving the organization. It can be a handy tool to make supervisors who do not know you well aware of your qualifications.

3.   Take control of your job description. Over a period of time, most of us pick up additional duties that were not originally noted in our job description. Taken individually, these duties may not be grounds for a raise or promotion, but collectively they may be just that. Be sure that you keep a log of what you are doing and the time required to do it, so you can make a logical presentation when you request that your job description be expanded.

4.   Don’t assume that your boss knows what you are doing. Prepare a regular report outlining your accomplishments for the week or month, whichever is appropriate, and submit it to your boss for information/review. This allows you to showcase those things that went well and counterbalance the things that did not.

5.   Dress for the position you want. John T. Malloy proved that dress makes a difference. People will treat you differently if you are dressed as a laborer than if you are dressed as a manager. I like the comment that Mark Twain made. “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

6.      Prove your value to the organization. Wherever and whenever possible, impact the bottom line by either saving money or generating income. In either instance, make sure that those you work for know the value of your service.

In next week’s column, I will give you a few more suggestions about how to enhance your career.