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Get up to speed.

"Most people—and companies—overestimate the extent to which industries have changed," says Timothy Butler, PhD, head of Harvard Business School's just-launched New Path program. Read The Wall Street Journal, take a continuing education course—finance, computer skills, spreadsheets—and follow the trade publications. "It doesn't take much to keep up-to-date," Butler says, "and that action proves to management that you're serious."