Brian Alden: In today's job market, it's more important than ever to make sure you are contributing above and beyond in the workplace. Whether you're a new hire or you've been working for a company for a while, it's imperative that you continue to expand your skill set so you can stay at your professional best.
In your downtime, catch up on reading in your field. Look online or to trade books, magazines, or newsletters to keep tabs on what is changing in your industry. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your industry will help you stand out in the meetings and bring fresh ideas to your company.
If you like to get actively involved in your field, consider attending a seminar or enrolling in a class to learn new skills. If you've been thinking about going back to school, taking a class at a community college can be a great way to get your feet wet and acclimate yourself back in the classroom. Also, you can make sure you really want to make the commitment to going back to school before you invest in a new degree.
Finally, keep tabs on your personal accomplishments. Writing down achievements and goals will be a tangible reminder of your progress. This is an important exercise that will also keep your resume up-to-date. Remember, even if you've landed the job of your dreams, never stop reaching for that next goal.