Whether we like it or not, we spend much of our time working.  Most of us spend over 2,000 hours a year at work.  So if you aren't happy with your present career or if you are trying to break into a new field, here are 10 essential habits for getting the job you want:

1. Know your career mission statement

Make sure you are clear about what you want to accomplish with your career.  Say it out loud and claim it. Write down exactly what your mission statement is and post it where you can see it every day.

2. Audit your time

If you go to work every day, write down how you spend your time. Look for things that distract you or keep you from meeting your goals. Take out things that aren't productive. If you are looking for employment, take a serious look at how you spend your time. How much time do you want to spend each day going to appointments or on the phone? How much do you need to devote to research for job interviews? Being accountable for your time helps you get the most from each minute.

3. Make sure your online brand is accurate

In today's world, prospective employers, as well as current management, use the internet and social media to track you. So make sure you do the work first. Google your name, make sure your profile and your brand are on point. Delete anything that doesn't represent who you are in the best possible light.

4. Daily gratitude

Whether you are struggling with a "not so great" job or are looking for that career break, take time for daily gratitude. You can find things that you are thankful for, no matter what the circumstances. This habit will change your attitude about yourself and your career. It is humbling to acknowledge all that you do have.

5. Be flexible

Employers are always looking for team members who will go with the flow and not complain when schedules or duties change. These types of employees are soon on the boss's radar because they make him or her look good. People who accept changes cheerfully often find they are asked to work more projects and move up faster in the workplace.

6. Do not just seek approval

It is easy to adjust our actions or beliefs as employees if we are looking for the support of management. You may find yourself tempted to give in to particular demands of a prospective employer just to get the job. However, instead of seeking approval, you should focus on the impact your actions make. Will it enhance service for the customer? Do you go the extra mile to meet requirements? Approval is fleeting, but impact shapes policy. So, instead of asking yourself if the boss liked your performance, ask yourself if you did your best. Did you make a lasting impact on some part of the job? If you can say that, you are successful.

7. Arrive 30 minutes early 

Like many employees, you may slide into the office just in time, with a minute to spare. Or maybe you plan your commute so that you just make it into your office before the boss. Here's an easy habit to form: Get to the office 30 minutes before you begin your day. Have time to sit and reflect on your goals for the day. Take inventory of what you need to accomplish and prioritize. You will find that your day will be less chaotic, and employers see this as you taking initiative, to be ready on time and prepared. 

8. Reach out often

Even if you already have a job, never stop networking with business friends and contacts. New opportunities are found quicker through word of mouth than any search engine. Keep an accurate, current list of contacts and use all of the social media to reach out and network.

9. Don't underestimate the benefits of a mentor  

You can never go wrong by seeking guidance from someone who has been working in the field longer than you. Finding someone who can counsel you through challenging aspects of your career is invaluable. Don't reinvent the wheel, just find out how others in your position have handled situations.

10. You will never finish

There is no perfect pinnacle to any career. There is always room to grow and expand. A career is about a journey, not reaching a certain destination. There will be another opportunity on the horizon. Always remain a student of your chosen field and be ready to grow. 

What are you doing to help your career? Are you doing what you love?

Published on: May 2, 2016
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