These days, it’s better to fly a plane than own a car whose COE price is so high, one can truly say the sky’s the limit.

Even if it’s just a helicopter, it’s probably good enough: you can’t get stuck in an Orchard Road flash flood that happens “only once every 50 years”. Even if it’s only an Apache, it still ticks my boxes: you won’t get saman (read: fine) when you park (crash-land, to be exact) illegally on a grass patch right at the backyard of a sleepy heartland.

I wish I were there to witness the Hollywood-like spectacle. After all, the RSAF AH-64D landed - much to the glee of our news-hungry media - right where I live. I could have been on national TV.

But it’s not to be. Instead, I was hard at work, crafting and tweaking stories that you and I could use for the advancement of our careers. I was drafting a piece about how we could – unlike the fallen-from-grace propeller plane - propel ourselves to greater heights at work.

Indeed, when it comes to augmenting yourself and outshining the rest, sacrifices – including missing the chance to be on national TV - are necessary.  To ensure that we remain as high-fliers and not crash-land at work, I suggest that you read on for tips on how to uplift your career:

What’s your USP?

Not to be confused with some iPhone technical jargon or app, this refers to a Unique Selling Point that you should try to associate and brand yourself with. It has to be something positive, enduring and special – so that point of recall is strong.

For instance, if you’re eloquent and have had stints in public speaking events (you may have even hosted the President before), let your achievements speak for themselves (but don’t boast) as you relate them to colleagues and bosses in a casual way or fitting contexts.

Rise to the occasion - be seen in social activities outside of your job scope, where appropriate

How people see you (or your talents) are not restricted to how well you’ve done up a presentation per se. Impressions can also be formed when you make an impact outside of your workstation. Sometimes, the more visible you are in terms of representing your department as a committee member of a joint project or volunteering your service in helping a colleague, the more favourable others may view you.  

Be a self-starter - volunteer your services and be willing to help others

Many people view volunteers at work as losers who have no life. While it may seem on a shallow level as such, you could also look at it from a different angle. While others are jetting off at 6pm sharp for their parties, you are actually gearing up to impress for the long haul.

Of course, what you do at the end of the day really depends on what your priorities are and whether you feel the “returns” are worth the investment and efforts.

Be vocal (artfully does it) at meetings

Make yourself heard and seen at the right occasion. Ask thoughtful questions and be prepared to come up with alternative or better suggestions, even if they may be shot down. Dare to say “no” when necessary. It’s sometimes better to have a/n (differing) opinion than to have none at all. People are likely to remember you (and more positively, too).

Network, network, network!

Never underestimate the importance of getting to know (the right) contacts. Whether it’s those from a related industry or others whom you feel may never cross path with you again – do it. Exchange name cards and keep in touch – you never know when you need to tap on them for help one day.

Secretaries and personal assistants should also be kept on your radar for they are the ones who can facilitate and connect you to the bosses (at the right time). The chummier you are with them, the easier it is for you to access the top guys (at the opportune occasion).  

Befriend your boss

While you probably shouldn’t go as far as to become your boss’s confidant, aim to upkeep a warm and amiable relationship with him. Instead of being guarded or keeping a distance (which works to your disadvantage since it’s harder for him to gauge your attitude or work), try to keep an open, upbeat and friendly vibe.  

When at work, speak professionally and respectfully. When at play, you could loosen up a little and use a tad more humour. Your boss is only human and would appreciate your sincerity. Just make sure you are genuinely communicating and not bootlicking!

Dress the part

Gearing up in the right garb can make a difference. When you look neat and sharp, you’d probably be psyched up to feel more alert. If you dress shabbily, you may land up feeling sloppy too. Dressing well helps to establish an image of a confident, credible and reliable worker. So dress to impress today!

There you have it - quick pointers on how to take (your career) to the skies. When in doubt, refer to this guide for a speedy revision. Better to take a crash course than to crash-land.