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With Christmas just a few days away, there’s no better time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate yourself for 2005. If you’ve got a few days off from work, it’s also the perfect time to think about how you can grow your career in ’05.

When you work for someone else, it can seem like you have very little control over your career, but you actually have more control than you think. Here are five steps you can take to increase your visibility within your company and expand your
career options:

MAKE TRACKS: To find out how you can really shine you need to find out as much as you can about all areas of your company. Make tracks and talk to as many different people as you can. Find out what’s going in different departments, what’s working, and who’s in charge. Attend as many company functions as you can. Actively listen to what people have to say, even if they disagree with you. In the process, you’ll learn a lot, get inspired by new ideas, and develop more confidence.

SET QUICK START TARGETS: Set your sights on achieving from short term goals that will really boost your career in the New Year.  Just the act of setting your intention will galvanize you to get moving. Do you want a raise? Different working conditions? To complete a project? To gather the courage to present a new idea
you’ve been working on? To get more comfortable with your-coworkers? Pick two or three goals that you can achieve in the first quarter of ’05.

LOOK FOR OTHER STARS: As you move around your organization, look for other rising stars-you may want them as part of your team someday soon. Look for people who have unique talents that complement your own, people whose strengths might help you achieve your goals. Get to know those people and find out what they are interested in. If their interests align with or complement your own, add them to an index rising stars that you want to keep in touch with.

CREATE A NETWORK: Even if someone you meet isn’t a rising star, they may still be a valuable part of your company network. You need to maintain contact with every part of your company, even if it’s not closely related to your work. Bosses look for well-rounded people who have deep and broad knowledge of their
companies. Add to your network everywhere you go. Listen deeply to what every person in your network has to say. Even if that information doesn’t mean anything to you now, you never know when it might become the answer you’re looking for.

CROSS POLLINATE: It’s easy to get stale at work, especially if you’ve been in the same position for a while. To avoid tunnel vision and access fresh ideas, look outside your industry. One clever employee suggested applying the timeshare principle employed by corporate jet leasing companies to his company’s consulting teams. The result? A new strategy for his company and a promotion for him.

If you want to grow your career in 2005, get it off to a fast start with these five tips-and get noticed! Implementing these five strategies can take less than a couple hours per week, and can result in your career blooming in totally unexpected (and
pleasing!) ways.

This Personal Development article was written by The Art of Business on 2/24/2005

Ryan P. Allis, 20, is the author of Zero to One Million, a guide to building a company to $1 million in sales, and the founder of Ryan is also the CEO of Broadwick Corp., a provider of the permission-based email marketing software and CEO of Virante, Inc., a web marketing and search engine optimization firm. Ryan is an economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is a Blanchard Scholar. [learn more.