- Invest in yourself with ongoing education, training and personal/professional development. Make every effort to become a three-dimensional person whose company others enjoy.
- Establish personal and professional goals. No one can do this for you; know why you work; what’s the emotional element behind what you do? Once you know this, you’re unstoppable.
- Pay attention. Know what is going on in your industry, your company and your department. Don’t be the last one to discover that your department’s function is being outsourced or the product you sell is being discontinued.
- Find a mentor. Reach out to a leader in your career field or a leader in another career field or industry to access objective advice and information. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, by expanding your sphere of influence, you will be able to tap into broader expertise and perspective. If you are ever in the position of having to change career fields, this strategy will pay immense dividends, whatever your level of work.
- Be a mentor. Volunteer to show a newbie the ropes, in your company, in a professional organization, an alumni organization or in your neighborhood. This is a great way to expand your network and discover what is going on in the minds of the younger generation.
- Stay engaged and avoid complacence. Monitor trends in your company and industry so you can remain ahead of the competition.
- Update accomplishments every quarter so that you can make a quick update to your resume when your dream job presents itself.
- Retain accolades, awards, commendations and sales results to use in an interview to substantiate your performance and achievements.
- Find a credentialed professional resume writer whose expertise you trust before you need one. Resume writing is an art, not a science. Creative or objective advice from someone who works with many clients can be invaluable when you need stellar marketing materials.
- Build your network. See items 4 and 5 above. You can’t have too many friends, and you must be a friend to have a friend, so keep your network alive by maintaining contact, helping others and celebrating success. Most of the people you help will be motivated to return the favor.
- Embrace change. Change happens whether you like it or loathe it. Read “Who Moved My Cheese” (by Dr. Spencer Johnson) to grasp the concept.
- Find a reputable career coach to work through fear, confidence and leadership issues before you have to meet them head on, especially if you know there’s going to be a layoff/restructuring or career change in your near future.
- Trust your instincts; they’re usually accurate.
- Be open to opportunity; you never know where or when it will reveal itself. Optimistic people with high expectations achieve big goals. Engineers can become top salespeople, attorneys can become business leaders and administrative assistants can advance to the executive suite.
- Be willing to ask for information, expertise or help when you need it. Successful people seldom reach the pinnacle on their own.
- Share your toys and play well with others. Your EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is more important than your IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management are essential in the workplace and in life. EQ is the highest indicator of success, both in business and in life!
Did you notice that are are actually 16 tips? The last one is a bonus!
Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC