Careers

7 career habits that could make or break you in 2017

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With each new year comes new goals. But meaning to "exercise more" or "do better at work" isn't enough.

If you really want to exercise more, you have to schedule time to go to the gym. And if you really want to do better at work, advice from career strategists, CEOs, and successful business leaders can help.

Here are seven of their best tips:

1. Connect more with people

Even Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg is resolving to do more connecting in person this year.

But networking doesn't have to be formal or even time-consuming. With just 45 seconds, according to networking expert, writer and investor J. Kelly Hoey, you could create valuable connections.

J. Kelly Hoey, investor and writer
J. Kelly Hoey, investor and writer

Take the stairs at work to increase your chances of bumping into a colleague or arrange a quick coffee date with someone you admire, Hoey suggests.

"Start thinking of networking as muscle," Hoey tells CNBC. "Use it regularly in a variety of ways to achieve your goals."


2. Set daily goals

If email overload or a growing list of assignments has you stressed, take control of your responsibilities with a handy to-do list.

Daymond John
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Daymond John

"Shark Tank" judge and entrepreneur Daymond John swears by it. And self-made millionaire Marcus Lemonis gets a lot of mileage out of what he calls his "knockout list." Consulting it is one of his best productivity tricks, he tells CNBC.


3. Dress for success

If you want to fast-track your career, present yourself in the best and most professional way possible, suggests "Million Dollar Listing" broker Fredrik Eklund.

Fredrik Eklund
Mike Coppola | Getty Images Portrait
Fredrik Eklund

If your clothes fit well, that will make you feel confident, he says. And don't be afraid to invest in monthly haircuts or a nice watch.


4. Develop a "hip pocket" skill

Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi credits much of her success in the business world to having a "hip pocket skill," a valuable talent an employee becomes known for.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.

Your "hip-pocket" skill could be your problem solving abilities, your excellent communication or having a facility to learn new things.

If it's useful and relatively rare, your talent will help you get noticed and then rise through the ranks.


5. Write clear emails

Employees who are known for writing succinct and error-free emails stand out, according to Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture's North America business.

Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture's North America business.
Accenture
Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture's North America business.

"I think people underrate the importance of investing in your communication skills as a way to progress in your career," Sweet tells CNBC.

Avoid long paragraphs, spelling mistakes and know when communicating in person or on the phone is better to convey your message, career strategists suggest. And be careful about using emojis.


6. Cultivate a hobby

According to a former Google career coach, being happy outside of work can have a positive effect on workers at the office.

Jenny Blake, author of “Pivot” and career strategist
Source: Mark Hanauer
Jenny Blake, author of “Pivot” and career strategist

"Ideally, get outside, maybe even get exercise or express yourself creatively," says career coach Jenny Blake, author of "Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next One."


7. Make use of your commute

Bill Gates is always reading a new book, and it's helped him become one of the most successful businessmen on the planet.

Bill Gates
Lacy O’ Toole | CNBC
Bill Gates

If you're like most Americans, you spend anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour commuting to work and back each day. Why not use that time to learn something new or prepare for your day?

Try a book that Gates recommends or cycle through a podcast on an outside interest.

Check out how Richard Branson says he has doubled his productivity.