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15 New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Land That Promotion

You may think you know how to be a shining star at work. But we spoke to bosses and experts to find out what moves they truly appreciate and will help you get ahead.


Keep up the good work

Did your company just experience a stellar year? Did you get a nice bonus? Then your job performance is right on target. “Just keep doing what you’re doing,” says Paul Felsen, president of Felsen Insurance Services in Denville, New Jersey. “It’s working!” Don’t miss how to turn a boring job into your dream one.


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Stop surfing the ‘Net

It’s fine to shop for your daughter’s birthday present or scan your Facebook timeline. But don’t do it on company time. “My pet peeve is surfing the Internet at work,” says a partner at an accounting firm in New Jersey. “I hate seeing people do it.” He says employees should resolve to work a full day—without traveling into cyberspace. “Give your employer that full day that you’re being paid for.” Watch out for social media moves that could sabotage your career.

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Become a problem solver

“Try to solve a problem before you bring it to me,” says Julia Dellitt, manager, marketing and communications at UnityPoint Health in Des Moines, Iowa. “Sometimes that behavior is out of insecurity—aka, wanting to handle something the ‘right’ way. But sometimes it’s just a little lazy.” Find out secrets to being happier at work.


Go above and beyond

Think about how you can stretch your role. Are there any projects outside the scope of your job that you could help with? Then proactively ask to join those teams or groups. Brainstorm ideas and work with your manager to implement them. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed.


Stop apologizing

Many people say “I’m sorry” at work even if they don’t need to apologize for anything. You may do so because you don’t want to appear rude, unkind, or aggressive. But you can actually hurt your professional image by saying “sorry” too much. Check out other surprising work habits that make you look unprofessional.

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Don’t always think of yourself

In the workplace, it shouldn’t be all about you. “Put yourself in others’ shoes before you open your mouth,” says Christina Hartman, a nonprofit executive. “Figure out how you can be helpful to someone else.” She says following that mantra will get you ahead faster than anything else. Find out how to gain the trust of your coworkers.


Take pride in what you do

Everything that happens at your workplace has your name on it. You contribute to the successes (and failures) of your colleagues, projects, and company. Be a champion of your work and organization. “It’s a collaborative and worthwhile effort,” says Paul J. Labov, an attorney and partner at Fox Rothschild.


Network for the sake of the company

Building relationships and networking shouldn’t just be done for the sake of your own career. It’s also important to do so to help drive sales and growth at your company. “Build relationships,” says Michael Aronesty, audit and assurance partner and Deloitte Private Enterprises Leader in New York City. “Set a goal to make 10 new connections that you build a relationship with over the course of the year.” Not sure how to start? Follow these networking rules.


Stop and think

In this day and age of go! go! go!, sometimes you need to take it down a notch. Think tasks through and analyze them before making a decision. “Create space between your thoughts and your actions,” says Jason Haber, real estate entrepreneur and author of The Business of Good. “Snap judgments can lead to unnecessary mistakes. Sometimes it’s best to think first, then act—even if it slows things down.” Check out these 16 smart ways you can get the boss to trust you.


Be more satisfied

“Remember that happiness is not about your actual situation, but what you make of that situation,” says Alexandra Levit, chairman, DeVry’s Career Advisory Board. Bored? Then resolve to do something about it to make yourself happier. “Sniff around for new challenges, responsibilities, projects, mentors. Use your organization as a stepping stone to achieve something great that you wouldn’t be able to do without it.” Here are the signs you might be in the wrong career.

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Aim for quality, not quantity

In the workplace, you may want to impress your boss with how much you can get done. Sometimes, though, it’s better to complete a few projects optimally instead of tackling a million with less-than-stellar results. “Focus on a few key tasks,” says an executive at a financial company in New Jersey. “Execute them well instead of trying to half start a million things.”

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Reflect on the year ahead

Think about what you want to get out of your career in the upcoming year. “If you lack work friendships, grab lunch with co-workers, attend office parties, and open up about your personal life to colleagues,” says Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0. Want to get promoted by the end of next year? “Then map out your actions to achieve that resolution,” Schawbel says.

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Embrace change

You have to deal with change in the workplace, whether you like it or not. “I find that many direct reports get immediately freaked out by change,” says Ashley Roos, styling manager at Brideside. “Instead, use change as an opportunity to show fellow teammates your resilience and ability to adapt and grow.”


Go back to school

As employers are asking for more and more from employees, you may consider going back to school. Doing so can help you get the specific expertise necessary to expand your role at work or get a promotion you’ve been vying for. “Aim for a degree or a certificate to help you advance in your career,” says Abby Kohut, a career consultant.


Never be afraid to ask questions

Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness or failure. It’s totally acceptable to admit when you need some guidance. “No matter how new or old your job is, it’s always fine to ask about something you’re unsure of rather than make a mistake,” says Jacqueline Paige, executive assistant at York Capital Management.

Stacey Feintuch
Stacey Feintuch contributes to's Health and Relationship sections. Her articles have appeared in Woman's World, Boca Raton Observer and, among other sites and publications. She earned her MA in magazine writing from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and her BA in journalism from The George Washington University.

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