There is a lot of advice out there on managing your career. I can boil it down to the seven most important tips. No matter what your occupation, these actions (or lack thereof) can make or break your career.
1) Set goals for yourself. Ask yourself where you want to be in 2, 5, 7 years from now. Then make a plan to get there. Write down your goals and post them someplace visible.
2) Always network. This means always work to build relationships, not only when you are in job search. Even when you are working, still make time for networking.
3) Do what you say. Build a reputation of standing by your word and getting things done. If you do this your reputation will build itself.
4) Understand yourself. Take some assessments or just take some time to reflect but you must know your strengths and areas of improvement. The better you know what your value is, the more likely you find a good fit in the workplace.
5) Be valuable to others. Remember that you want to give more than you receive. I believe it will come back to you in some way. I’ve seen it time and time again.
6) Keep an open mind. You can plan very well but then something unpredictable may happen to change the equation. Don’t be so set in your plan that you miss surprising opportunities.
7) Seek out a mentor. Find someone in your field (or the field you want to be in) who is well respected and ask them if they might take you under their wing to offer advice and guidance.