Challenging economic times make career advancement important, for those who are working and for those who are unemployed.

Companies routinely shed complacent workers and seek to replace them with those who have a desire to develop their skills and take on new responsibilities, so you have a lot of power to determine the success of your career.

Here you will find 10 tips for job seekers needing career advancement.

1. Your reputation is a valuable asset

Those well known for humility, willingness to help others, and team values are more likely to advance within an organization. Those who are counted on to take on new responsibilities and learn new skills have the advantage over those who lurk in the shadows and avoid work. Those with a “that’s not my job” attitude usually won’t advance very far.

2. Stop guessing

You don’t have to sit around waiting to be recognized or wondering what your future is in a company. If you are employed, talk to your boss and find out what your options are in the company. Sure, you might hear some lies, but the additional information will help you judge for yourself whether you should stay in the company or not. If you stay, try to find out what skills and education the company needs most and then get them.

3. Add to your company’s profitability

Whether you’re unemployed or not, you need to get the proper perspective on employment. A business should only hire you if they can earn more money than you earn with you on board. If you aren’t capable of producing more than what you cost the company, you’ll be gone sooner or later. When you can convince an employer that you are a profit center for the company, you are likely to advance your career.

4. Network with power brokers inside and outside your company

You might not want to kiss-up to anyone, but if you want to advance your career you will do it anyway. Those with good contacts in good places are the ones who keep their jobs the longest and find new jobs the fastest.

5. Work on your interpersonal skills

The way you interface with others may turn them off. You could come across as arrogant, flippant, defiant, or disrespectful without actually having any of those qualities. Work on listening to people more than talking to them to get started. After that, get some books that teach ways to relate properly to other people.

6. Share your thoughts

Those who advance are the ones that freely make suggestions even if they are radical. Modern business needs to innovate and those who think off the wall and outside the box are the ones who have the chance to make it big. Even if your ideas get rejected, keep on offering your thoughts and opinions: you will never go unnoticed if you do.

7. Promote your brand

In the competitive workplace, you cannot afford to wait around for someone to boast about your accomplishments. You don’t have to brag, but you can make sure appropriate people remember your accomplishments, especially if you have earned or saved the company a lot of money.

8. Focus on efficiency

Differentiate yourself to potential employers by documenting how you have experience making workflows more efficient. Create work instructions for every task you do and periodically review them for improvement.

9. Develop your skills

Over time, skills become dull and obsolete. Take it upon yourself to go back to school to learn the latest technologies or management techniques. You show your commitment to your career while making yourself more valuable to your employer. A good time to build your skills is during periods of unemployment.

10. Get involved outside the company

Volunteer for community organizations or trade groups. You enhance the visibility of your company and you build yourself a safety net should you ever get fired.

Whether or not you are employed, you must work to develop your personal and professional skills to make sure that the best job opportunities open up to you. Use these 10 tips to advance your career and you will have a more prosperous and secure future.

James Adams currently works at an online HP cartridges store. His time is spent reviewing products like HP 351XL ink and posting on their advertising and design blog.

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