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5 Critical Career Moves You Need to Make Now

It’s January, the time of year when you once again resolve to lose weight, quit smoking, drink less and recycle more. All worthy personal and altruistic goals. But what about career resolutions? Whether you are happily employed, a disgruntled employee, or out of work positioning yourself for the next great opportunity should be among your top priorities. So make room on your list for the top 5 critical career resolutions you must make regardless of your employment status to give you the best chance of long-term career success:

1. Focus on your personal brand. You are unique. Who you are, how you think, how you project yourself, what you have to offer is what you are selling to an employer. Starting on the outside then looking in – be honest with yourself. Is it time for a make-over? Men, this applies to you, too. From hairstyle to shoes, do you look current, confident and professional? Are you self-aware about how others perceive you? Are you the type of colleague that others want to be around, work with, trust, respect, can count on? That means being solution-oriented, positive, collaborative, collegial and accountable.

2. Update your Internet profile. Is your resume and profile on Linkedin and other social and professional media current? Do you even have a Linkedin profile and know what it is? And that’s just the bare minimum today. Many professionals have their own career page and twitter accounts. You’ve got to work on your profile and get yourself out there…speaking of which…

3. Network, Network, Network. Networking is to the Job search as Location, Location, Location is to the house search. Need more convincing…two-thirds of all job opportunities are never advertised and are filled through networking. Resolve to ask everyone in your network to introduce you to just one new person in the coming year and watch your network and prospects grow accordingly.

4. Stretch yourself. Development never stops. Pick one or two skills that you want to acquire or improve and make a plan with a specific time-frame for achieving that goal. Take a course, pick a mentor, read some books…take ownership and make it happen.

5. Speaking of Ownership... You are the captain of your career. Don’t rely on the strengths or weaknesses of others to determine your career success or happiness. Make known what you want and need for career fulfillment and go out and get it. Demonstrate that you deserve it through your actions, hard-work and delivery.

Assume success. Earn the rewards. Good things are more likely to happen more often. Happy 2012.

Gregory Giangrande is Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Dow Jones. He writes a weekly column for the New York Post and Fox News Opinion offering career advice.Watch Giangrande dispense career advice Fridays on "FoxNews.com Live."