Are you sick and tired of depending on other people for your career success? GOOD! The only person in charge of your success is you. If you’re feeling trapped by a job you hate, a bad boss, insulting pay, or all of the above, it’s time you take ownership of your career. Okay, great - but where do you start? Here are three things you can do to start taking control of your career today:

1. Make a list of everything you’re awesome at.

What are you known for? What are your best skills? What accomplishments are you most proud of? What are your best qualities? Take 20 minutes to braindump everything you can think of that you do better than anyone else. Then, organize that list by skills, accomplishments, qualities, and so on. Recognizing and organizing this information will help you better brand yourself as a business-of-one and market yourself to employers.

2. Stop being reactive.

If you want to take ownership of your career, you need to stop being reactive and start being proactive. Reactive activities include, but aren’t limited to, the following: Waiting for your boss to give you a promotion, waiting for recruiters to reach out to you with new opportunities, or waiting for employers to email you back about your resume. Notice that all of these “job search activities” started with the word “waiting.” Newsflash: Waiting doesn’t get results. Taking action does. Instead, set up a meeting with your boss to discuss advancement opportunities, reach out to employees at your target companies and set up informational interviews, and follow up with the hiring staff after you’ve submitted your resume. #GetProactive

3. Make new career friends.

The old saying “It’s who you know” has never rung more true. Get by with a little help from your career friends! Focus your efforts on meeting new people within your industry and target companies. Start conversations and build relationships with them. Even if you’re not ready to find a new job or change careers yet, having these people in the wings as references, mentors, and professional contacts will help you tremendously. They can provide tips and insight, act as a sounding board for ideas, and even hook you up with a job. Just make sure you help them out in return! Watch this video to learn more about this networking strategy.

4. Stop limiting yourself to the familiar.

Part of your new, proactive approach is to step out of your comfort zone. Many people hold themselves back solely because they are afraid of what people think. But remember, nothing will change if you don’t! Make an effort to put yourself out there and meet new people. Set up informational interviews with like-minded professionals, strike up conversation with someone at a conference, and attend in-person networking events. This post was originally published on an earlier date. Photo Credit: Shutterstock