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Resolution to reality: Jump-start your career in 2014

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A new year brings with it new goals at work and in our career paths.

For many, this is the year to vow to finally get a big promotion, or learn to step out of your comfort zone and find a way to act differently at work. For others, perhaps the goal is to be more persuasive — with customers, colleagues, the boss or anyone else at the office.

Several LinkedIn Influencers weighed in on making these and other career moves in 2014. Here’s what some of them had to say.

Katya Andresen, chief executive officer at ePals

We all want to be more persuasive at work, wrote Andresen. But what she believes will get you there in 2014, might surprise: “Thinking less about what you want and more about what you deliver for others,” she wrote in her post How to Be More Persuasive in 2014.

“A benefit exchange is the heart of persuasion. It answers the question, "What's in it for me?" for the person you are seeking to influence,” wrote Andresen, who called the concept, which can be used to get someone to agree to a proposal, inspire people to change habits or compel someone to buy a product, “the single most powerful yet neglected concept in communicating in the workplace”.

To be more persuasive in 2014, Andresen suggested first understanding where this exchange usually goes wrong. “The number one error is we talk about attributes vs. benefits. We get lost in the qualities of an idea or a product rather than translating those attributes into the benefits they deliver for a colleague or customer,” she wrote.

So, how exactly, do you get the benefits exchange right? Andresen suggested five key ways. Among them:

“Make the benefit immediate. Few of us take action based on a benefit that we expect to receive in the far future. It is human nature to seek instant satisfaction over distant gratification. How can you make your case that if someone does what you want, they will reap immediate rewards? Answer the question: what will be better tomorrow?,” she wrote.

Speak to your audience’s values,” Andresen wrote. “We can’t easily change what other people believe, but by plugging into their existing mind-set, we unleash great power behind our message. Make sure the benefit you are communicating is something others seek – not just what you want. Those two things are rarely the same, but we often imagine they are.”

Linda Descano, managing director and head of content & social at bank Citi

“Getting a new job or a better job with higher pay is one of the top five financial resolutions Americans are making in 2014, according to the results of a recent Citi national survey, wrote Descano in her post Turning a ‘New Job’ Resolution into a Reality This Year.

What, exactly, do you need to make that resolution come true? Descano compiled “the best ideas, insights and tips that hiring managers, career coaches and recruiters shared” with her and her team at Citi about what they look for in candidates, how to ace an interview and how to dress to impress.  Among the most prescient advice is insight offered in another Descano post from 2013, she suggested — how to get the promotion you’ve been trying for.

First, off, “observe,” she wrote. “Study what other people in your organization have done to get promotions. Learn from their successes and follow their lead. Look and act your future role by observing what people 2-3 levels senior to you are wearing and how they engage with others.”

Also important: “Manage your brand, Descano wrote. “Remember, every day you have the ability to either support your current brand or enhance its power. It’s critical to keep checking the value of your brand. This can be done by formal methods such as 360° feedback or informally, by asking people around you for honest and constructive feedback on your performance,” she wrote.

Bruce Kasanoff, chief executive officer at consulting firm, Now Possible

“If something in your gut is telling you it's time to break out of your longstanding routine, Ben Heine is the guy to spark your imagination and demonstrate what's possible with fresh thinking,” wrote Kasanoff in his post Break your Routine in 2014.

Belgian artist Ben Heine’s Pencil vs Camera series of cartoons is one Kasanoff finds particularly inspiring. He wrote in the post, which offers some of Heine’s quotes, meant to “illustrate five ways to mix things up this year”.

Among the key ideas:

“Big ideas come from little details,” Kasanoff wrote.

“One quality can set your ideas above others,” he wrote, adding Heine’s comment on the topic: “My hand is always clearly visible (in the cartoon) because I hold the piece of paper that fits into the picture. Intuitively, I felt from the beginning that it was a necessary choice to balance everything. Yet it is not a pretty woman's hand, it breaks a bit the harmony. But it was important to emphasize the contrast between imagination and reality and to show that the final artworks are not simple photo-montages,” Heine once said. 

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