"Maximize" is a very broad question. The first issue is to find out how much or if your employer is going to match your contributions. If it is 6%, for example, it's the equivelent of 100% return on your investment immediately!. Check out the vesting program for the company, as you may have to be at the company for a certain number of years to have access to it. If you leave early, you may forfeit all or a part of your employers contributions, but be sure, your contributions are always your own. The limit you can contribute for 2012 from your earned wages is $17,000. As far as how to invest it, I suggest you consult with your investment advisor or Certified Financial Planner(tm) to develop a plan appropriate to your risk tolerence and other factors. Good Luck, and save, save save!
By contributing the maximum allowable based on your age and sticking to an asset allocation. See you if your plan also offers rebalancing options.