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Seven Steps Can Lead to Career Advancement

Getting ahead in the workplace isn’t as difficult as some people may think. Focusing on seven key areas, one business-etiquette expert says, can help any driven businessperson to advance his or her career:

1. Get that degree. The most obvious first step, says Barbara Pachter, an author, trainer and coach, is finishing one's degree. “Many people have told me they wished they hadn’t stopped their studies. If time is an issue, consider online courses,” she suggests. “If you have your bachelor’s, think about getting your master’s.”

2. Set career goals. Career-focused people can always change their minds at a later date about the field they want to enter, but making an initial plan and knowing where they’re going helps keep them focused, Pachter says.

3. Work hard. Going the “extra mile” is a plus, Pachter says, because persistence pays off in the workplace. Many people looking for advancement don’t always give a 100% effort, she notes.

4. Be an expert. Becoming an expert in a chosen field is an important step, Pachter says. Being recognized as a knowledgeable source or “go to” person is a great way for business-minded professionals to advance their careers, she says.

5. Stay current. “Read your professional journals and newsletters. Attend training to update your skills. Stay abreast of any new technology. Get involved in your professional associations,” Pachter recommends. It’s one of the surefire ways for professionals to build their networks and be on top of what’s happening in their fields, she says.

6. Volunteer. Offering one's skills on a volunteer basis will increase one's opportunities for career advancement, Pachter says. “Help others when you can. Offer to write articles for your company’s and/or association’s newsletters,” says the author of “Greet! Eat! Tweet” Pachter’s most recent business-etiquette book. “Look for speaking opportunities within your organization, community or professional associations," she says. "You will get known for these efforts.”

7. Mentor and be mentored. Pachter's final step in achieving career advancement is through a mentoring program – either by working with a mentor, or by serving as one. “Mentors help you grow in your career. And when you mentor others, you expand your professional network and strengthen your role as an expert,” she says.

Barbara Pachter has more than 20 years' experience as an etiquette trainer and coach. She has given more than 2,100 presentations throughout the world, including the first-ever seminar for businesswomen in Kuwait. For more information, visit her Web site at

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