A: There is really not much you can do about this. Most people who serve as references know this might happen and they do not overly worry about this. They know this is part of the game — sometimes they are called, and sometimes they are not called. They also know that the job market can change. I think you are doing all the right things in this case.
Q. Do you know any books or resources to help me learn to take more initiative in my work? I'm in a position that's a little above an assistant and I think my boss is looking for me to be more assertive in moving past just supporting him, if that makes sense. A lack of confidence has always been an issue with me. I have a hard time visualizing myself as more than an assistant but really want to!
A: Good for you to be thinking about this — that shows great initiative already! It is important, too, since leaders often cite initiative as one of those very valuable attributes that they are looking for in their employees and potential stars.
One thing you can do is to learn more about your field so you can anticipate the kinds of things your boss may want you to do next. Is there a professional association in your field that you can join so that you can attend conferences or events? This would enable you to learn more and to network with others in your field.
Also, are there others at work in your field or the next job higher where you can get some mentoring regarding what other things you can be doing? Sometimes just meeting with them can be inspirational regarding what other things you can do.
Q. I know that I have a promotion coming up in three months. Do you have any tips for assuring the highest bump in salary feasible? I like my company, and this is a rare opportunity to get the salary bump that's often only achieved when you job hop. I want to fight for every last penny!