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by Vault Careers | November 15, 2011


When trying to advance in a career, professionals have to be able to market themselves in a way that makes them stand out in the competitive workforce. Those who are moving along in their career path should never play it safe.  Playing it safe will keep professionals stagnant.  Here are some ways in which work professionals can take their career to a whole new level. 

Professional Working to Advance His CareerAim high.  Why not create your own career path.  you have the knowledge and the skills.  With a little research and some smart planning, there might not be a need to advance your career at someone else's company, especially when you can start your own. 

Emily Blumenthal, founder of her own purse label "Handbag Designer 101" told a recent panel at the University of Michigan that it's always difficult when starting out in a new business. She said that even though she was a one-woman company, she established a large social media presence so people could find her business on the internet.

Todd Arky, co-founder of the online food delivery site SeamlessWeb said he looked to familiar faces to help his company get off the ground and act bigger than it really was.

"No one wants to be your first client or the ‘guinea pig’ so when we started SeamlessWeb, we went to companies where we knew people and asked them if we could get them on board early to help us attract other clients,” Arky noted.

Do something different to stand out.  If starting your own career is not yet an option, job seekers especially need to make a good impression when networking. When you have command over who you are, where you want to go and how you want to be perceived, people take notice.  Confidence, not arrogance, will get you everywhere. Jessica Kleiman, co-author of "Be Your Own Best Publicist" suggests people find ways to set themselves apart by personalizing business cards and sending out correspondence in unique packaging. It's all part of becoming a personalized brand, and finding ways to attract the attention of potential employers and investors. 

The only way to gain knowledge is to ask for it.  Always go with the belief that as much as you know, there is someone out there who knows more than you.  You should seek those people out.  Don't be afraid to ask for career advice from friends, family and industry professionals. People who are constantly learning about their industry tend to do better than those who are not willing to learn. You should always be open to attending seminars, taking online courses or continuing ed classes to advance in the field.  Take the experience of others and absorb their knowledge to make yourself even more well-rounded than you were before. 

Network.  This goes without saying.  Many people are afraid to share their business ideas out of fear, but if you don't talk to others in the field, you'll never know where you stand. One person might have an idea that can strengthen your idea.  Another person might know someone who can make your idea a reality.  Another person might not like your idea at all, but develop a newfound respect for your critical thinking skills and decide to see what else you can contribute to the team.  The more likely a person is to share their ideas, the more likely they are to make them happen.

Remember a job is not a career.  In order to succeed in a career, people have to be willing to work in short-term jobs. Remember that any experience can help build a solid and successful business.  Think about where you want to be and work jobs that will help you reach those goals along your career path. 

--Published courtesy of Brafton (additional material written by Jon Minners,


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