Sunday, Apr 22, 2018
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If it Works

by Kevin Donlin

CTW Features

Some people always seem to get hired faster, get more promotions and make more money on the job, in any economy.

Why is that?

While there s no one thing that will guarantee career success for everyone, there are three things you can start doing today to make yourself more valuable to any employer, in any industry.

Here they are:

1. Add Value

Adding value is the single most powerful personal attribute you can possess, says Les McKeown, president & CEO of, Marblehead, Mass., and author of several books on career achievement.

Did you ever hand a job or task to someone, knowing you would have to go back over it once they finished, to fix the inevitable errors and generally mop up after them?

People who add value are just the opposite. You know when you give them a task that it will be completed on time, the way you want it, with no loose ends or unfinished parts, says McKeown.

However, really successful value adders see the completion of an allocated task as only the starting point.

Maybe it s by turning an event into a process. Example: not just clearing up a filing mess, but putting a filing system in place to avoid future backlogs.

In whatever form it shows itself, naturally successful people consistently and appropriately add value all the time, says McKeown.

2. Become an Expert

A sure-fire way to increase your value on the job is to keep learning. This can be as complex as getting your MBA or as simple as reading a book every week.

Whatever you do to increase your expertise, make sure your boss knows about it. Completing training, such as Microsoft s MCSE certification, can make it more likely that you'll be rewarded appropriately in your next performance review.

Here s an example from the field of medicine.

I m told the average physician makes $160,000 per year. Not bad. But I know a liver specialist in Michigan who makes $500,000 and lives in a house the size of an airplane hanger. He s a recognized expert. And he s rewarded accordingly.

What subject can you become an expert in at work?

3. Be There Every Day

To paraphrase Woody Allen, can 80 percent of success really come just from showing up?

The answer is yes, in the minds of many.

I still remember my first promotion with a mixture of pride and amusement, recalls McKeown.

I was a young kid back in Ireland, and I had a paper-route before school. I needed the money and never missed a morning. After three months, the owner pulled me aside and said: I m going on vacation for three weeks. I want you to be in charge. I ll give you an extra five shillings every week, he says.

When McKeown asked his manager why he had been chosen over older, more-experienced newsboys, he got this reply: Simple. You re always there.

That means more to me than anything else. I wanted peace of mind on vacation. I knew you d be there every morning.

Are you there every day for your employer? If so, you may find your steady presence makes you more valuable than less-dependable co-workers.

By adding value, becoming an expert and being there every day, you can make yourself indispensable to any employer. Which can lead to faster promotions, keys to the executive washroom whatever it is that defines career success for you.

Now, go out and make your own luck!

Kevin Donlin, owner of Edina, Minn.-based Guaranteed Resume, frequently writes about best practices in job hunting. For more information, visit

Copyright CTW Features

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