There are a million books out there about how to “boost” your career. But here are recent ones I've read that bring a unique perspective to the field. Their goal is to treat your career as if you are a freelancer offering your services. It's your job to make sure your services are in demand. The rarer and more valuable those services are, the better off you'll be.
2. The News
Make the news a part of your routine. It's important that you stay “in the know” about what's happening in the job market, what industries are getting coverage, and what's “hot” （and more importantly…what's not）。
LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with people in your industry and keep track of what they're doing and worrying about. If someone you admire tweets about a problem, you have a cool opportunity to help them out. It's also a great way to study up on a potential new boss/employer.
4. At Work
The people you work with today are the people your next job will be calling for references. You don't have to be a fake, just remember that the goal is to get things done and for the entire group to be successful. Be friendly. Be a team player. You can't do it all by yourself — and you will have a heck of a time getting anything done if your colleagues don't like your attitude.
5. Find a Mentor
Mentors are essential in developing your career. We all think we can do it on our own, but that's just youthful bravado talking. Find someone you respect and trust that has experience and try to learn as much as you can from them. It might be your boss or it might be a former boss…you never know.
6. Help a Coworker
Keep an eye out for someone that has too much on their plate or is obviously frustrated. Then try to help them out. Take on some of their work. Push a deadline back for them. Take them out to coffee to give them a break. Anything. Just let them know you're there to help. Help your team today, and they will be there to help you down the line.
7. Run a Salary Audit
The goal is to figure out if you're being paid fairly. Use salary-comparison sites to get a range of where you should be. Be warned — you might find you're paid fairly （and might be overpaid!） even if you feel you deserve more!
8. Control Your Spending
Making more is the best way to boost your finances, but you also have to control how much you spend. It isn't as hard as you think. Spend less than you make, and get rid of your debt as quickly as you possibly can.
9. Work Smarter
Before you try to find another job, make sure you're killing it at your current job. Make life easier for yourself and for others by finding efficiencies, working smarter, and getting things done. Easier said than done, I know, but when you're out there interviewing, you want to have concrete examples of how you created value in the past.
10. Be Flexible
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Most people think they are in control of their careers. You pick a field/industry/job, and then you plow ahead, doing your best to go as far as possible. That's not realistic. Things that interest you will lure you into different areas. Stuff you had no idea will come into play. You'll get laid off. You'll get promoted. You'll switch jobs. Be open to these changes, and don't shut any doors because they don't mesh with your “five year plan.” The best course of action is to be ready for anything because the unexpected moves sometimes wind up being the best moves you ever make.
11. Have a Sit Down
Communication is crucial, especially with the person you report to. Whether you get along with your boss or not （in a perfect world you at least respect and trust him or her）， you need to have a clear understanding of what's expected of you and how you can exceed those expectations. Not sure how to “hit a homerun” for your boss? Ask, and then execute.
12. Pretend You're the Boss
I don't mean put your feet on your desk and start bossing people around. I mean really take the time to imagine yourself in your boss's shoes. Think about her day-to-day, the people she manages, the boss she has to answer to. All of that…think about it real hard. Sometimes a little empathy goes a long way.
13. Help Your Boss
We're all very busy, but pay close attention to your boss for a week. I mean, really pay attention. What's bothering him? What's keeping him up at night? What worries him? Now spend some of your time trying to make his life easier.