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Looking back on your 2011 career

What you’ve learned about yourself this year

Hindsight is 20/20, especially when it comes to your career. As the year wraps up, both job seekers and those just looking to get ahead in their current role have plenty of new career insights moving forward. Even if you aren’t preparing for your annual review, it can be helpful to annually assess your career as a way to reflect on what you’ve learned. Looking back can also help you determine future goals. Here’s what others learned about their job search and career this year:

 Job search

“A new job isn’t necessarily a better job. I interviewed for another job and was asked for my salary requirements. They offered me that job…for less than what I’m making now. Before 2011, I took a new job each year to keep moving up, but now I’m staying put and am pretty grateful for what I have.” — Meredith, New York

“Building relationships with people is the number one way to find work. It’s not about blasting your résumé out to a million companies and hoping for the best. It’s really about getting to know the people hiring and talking to them. Sometimes it’s stressful to make that extra effort, but it pays off.” — Rose, New York

“Having a connection can be the best way to land an interview. Telling people that you are looking for a new role can be uncomfortable, but you never know who may be aware of an opening and recommend you.” — Diane, Illinois


“I spent most of 2010 in a job that I hated. I had been laid off earlier and was so desperate to get back to work that I thought I had to take anything that came my way. In September of 2010 I started at what’s become the best job ever. I couldn’t believe the radical change from 2010 to 2011. I learned this year that happiness at a job is actually really important, and you shouldn’t take the first thing that comes your way — even if you’re desperate.” — Beth, New York

 “If you do good work and have a good boss, he or she can be your best advocate. I got my latest job when someone came to my boss at the time and asked for recommendations of people for a higher position. My boss could have held onto me, because I did good work for her, but instead she recommended me for the other job and I got it.” — Mira, New Jersey

“You might not be able to escape your original company. I went to my company’s biggest competitor, and now they’re merging with my old company.” — Paul, Connecticut

“I learned not to take your employer’s word, or in my case ‘promise,’ about an upcoming raise or promotion.  My boss told me I could expect a long-overdue raise and promotion on Jan. 1. He said it was in the budget and approved. Jan. 1 came and went with no news. As did Jan. 2, 3, 4 and so on. When I confronted him about it, he told me he was still working on it and asked me to be patient. I finally got the good news in May — five months later. I really wish I would have put more pressure on my boss by countering with another job offer.” — Michael, New York

 “You have to continuously sell yourself by showing initiative, going beyond what is required — within reason — and following up on the project or deal after completion to show personal interest in its success. All this will help you stand out from the crowded workspace and open doors to better opportunities by becoming the go-to resource for top-quality work.” — Alen, Illinois

Alina Dizik, Special to CareerBuilder

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