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Want a Better Job? Here Are 3 Steps Toward Getting One

By Daniel B. Kline - Oct 29, 2017 at 7:46AM

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You can improve your work situation if you put the effort in.

Over half of the 100 million full-time employees in the United States aren't engaged at work, CBS News reported in March.

The story, based on research done by Gallup, showed that roughly 51 million people felt no real connection to their job. To make matters worse, another 16% are actively disengaged, which means they actually resent their job and likely complain about it to co-workers.

Are you one of those people? Do you hate your job, or just dislike it enough that you want to move on? Whether you are unhappy, downright miserable, or just believe that you are ready for something else, it's possible to quit your job and get something better.

Possible does not always mean easy, though, and there are a number of things you should think about to improve your chances.

A woman touches a search box on a computer screen that says "find a job"

Getting a better job can be a job in itself. Image source: Getty Images.

1. Make yourself more marketable

There was a time, more than a decade ago, where I thought learning Spanish would make me more marketable as a freelance writer. It would have, but my efforts to learn the language topped out as "passable conversation" and never rose to the level where I could actually write.

Still, while my efforts to become a dual-language writer failed, attaining a passable knowledge of Spanish made me more marketable. I may not have been able to write stories in my second language, but I could communicate in it, and that was attractive to employers.

Examine your desired profession and figure out what skills make you a better job candidate. That may mean taking a class, gaining a certification, or just doing some studying on your own. Whatever it takes, at the end you will have a new line on your resume that makes you a better candidate than you were previously.

2. Network, network, network

Your next job may not come from the traditional application process. Instead, it could come from someone you know, even if you don't know them well.

When you are looking for a better job, let your network -- both the people in your real life and those in your social media networks -- know you're on the market. Obviously, your current employment situation details how subtle you need to be, but it's still possible to get the word out even if you need to be quiet about it.

Remember that people like to be the hero. If their company or someone they know needs someone and your contact can say "hey, I know a good candidate," most people will want to do that. Just put yourself out there and good things can happen.

3. Ask for one

When I used to run a large toy store, an obviously upset employee once took me aside and asked why I promoted someone else and not her. My answer was that she had always talked about other, non-toy store career aspirations and I had not thought she would be interested in taking on more responsibility.

That was a failure on my part for not knowing my employees as well as I should have, but it was a mistake on her end too. Has she asked and put herself out there, I may well have given her the job.

You need to be your own best advocate. Sit down with your boss and talk about where you hope to go and try to make a plan to get there.

It's all on you

Potential employers, and even your current one, probably don't spend that much time thinking about how to give you a better job. If you want one you have to take the lead in the process. Make yourself the best candidate possible, then work every angle so you can get where you want to go.

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