When you’re younger, and you’re asked what you want to be when you’re older, you usually come up with singer, vet or astronaut, but the common denominator of all these occupations is success!
Success is defined by climbing up the career ladder to a prominent position, one that makes you feel like you’ve made it in life. The meaning of success, however, differs from person to person. For some, it’s defined by salary; for others, by job satisfaction or even a great work-life balance.
Here are 15 tips that can help you advance in your career and discover ultimate success.
1. Identify Your End Goal
The first step to succeeding in your career is figuring out what your end goal is. Is it advancing within your current position? Is it changing careers altogether?
Whatever it is, by identifying your end goal, you’ll have something tangible to work towards. You can also set a timeframe for your goals and monitor how far you’ve progressed towards them. If circumstances change, or things become too tricky, adjust your targets accordingly.
If you’re just starting out in your career, meanwhile, consider taking a personality test to identify what it is that you’d be good at, and set goals based on your findings.
2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Although it might be scary to take on a big project, go on a business trip or give a presentation, you should always strive to step out of your comfort zone. Once you get comfortable in a position, you stop advancing, and you stop pushing boundaries. One way around this is to regularly volunteer to do tasks that you usually wouldn’t. Not only will you feel good about what you’ve accomplished, but also more confident – promise!
3. Never Stop Learning
Learning and development are vital in the working world. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or an administrator, you should always continue to grow your knowledge, both in and outside of your field. You can do so by reading current news, books, talking to people within your industry or even listening to podcasts. The options are truly endless; what’s important is to have the right mindset and always absorb new information like a sponge!
4. Embrace Failure
Many millennials view failure as something negative; they assume that they’ve let themselves down and will never achieve their targets ever again!
Failure, however, is just a steppingstone; you should own your mistakes and learn from them. Look at all the great entrepreneurs: they have all had their fair share of setbacks before making it big. Take Arianna Huffington for example, the former CEO of HuffPost, who, before launching the popular news site in 2005, had trouble publishing her second book – in fact, it was rejected by 36 different publishers.
5. Don’t Compete with Anyone but Yourself
Having a role model to look up to throughout your career is great, but when this admiration turns into a competition, you’re in trouble! You’ll end up spending all your energy trying to get one over your colleague that you’ll miss opportunities in advancing your career.
Instead, try not to focus on other people’s promotions, salary or previous experience, and learn to be content with your current position.
6. Stay Organised
Staying organised when trying to achieve your career goals is vital; it not only saves time fiddling through piles of paper, but it also helps you stay focused. And while many organisational apps help you stay on top of your A-game, you can’t beat an old-fashioned diary! When managing your career, you should select a method that works for you, and use it to track your work and progress.
7. Eat Healthily
Food is fuel for your brain, and like a car, you need the right gas to keep you going! If you indulge in heavy carbs and sugary foods on a daily basis, you’ll end up feeling lethargic, and you won’t have the right energy to perform to the best of your abilities. If you eat healthier snacks, though, you’ll be a lot more focused and determined.
8. Take Care of Yourself
As well as food, you should also look after your mental wellbeing to avoid burnout. Practise mindfulness, find a good work-life balance and learn to switch off once in a while. Find hobbies to take your mind off work, and just have some fun! When you’re happy in your personal life, you’re more likely to be satisfied at work too.
9. Be a Good Listener
While you might think that having the gift of the gab will get you a golden ticket to advance in your career, you’re sorely mistaken! Having the ability to listen carefully to what your peers are saying is integral. Listening carefully, absorbing information and asking questions will prove useful as you gain more experience and get promoted.
10. Dress for Success
If I haven’t hammered this enough already, here’s another shot!
You should dress for the job you want, not the one you have. The power of clothes is magical, and if you always dress professionally, you’ll naturally be treated with more respect and will be viewed differently. If you arrive to work wearing creased clothes or, worse, tracksuits, you’ll prove nothing other than you have no interest in your job.
11. Be Trustworthy
When people trust you, you’re more likely to be given more responsibilities, and you’ll be at the front of the line when the next promotion comes around.
But what makes a trustworthy employee?
To keep it simple, authenticity and consistency sum up the most essential qualities of a trustworthy person. It’s someone who doesn’t slack, who is always positive, honest and is relied on in a time of need.
12. Work Smarter, Not Harder
While many workers think that burning the midnight oil will help them succeed, the truth is quite the contrary – why work 10 hours, when you can effectively do the same work in 8? The solution is simple: work smarter and not harder. Develop methods to stay focused and power through your tasks without slacking or getting distracted. That way, you’ll have more free time to enjoy outside of work and will generally feel a lot more satisfied.
13. Build Strong Connections
You never know when you’ll need someone’s professional help, which is why it’s important to develop an active list of connections. You don’t want the first time someone has heard from you in five years to be when you’re looking for a new job.
Instead, make genuine friendships with those in your circle and try to help them where you can too. Networking is a two-way street, and if you can help someone, why not do so?
14. Create Your Own Opportunities
When something doesn’t go your way, don’t sit around and mope about it! Instead, go out there and create your own opportunities. If you can see a gap in the market or a role in your organisation that needs filling, why not bite the bullet and suggest it?
Entrepreneur and businesswoman Huda Kattan did just that when she left a secure finance job to fund her hobby of creating mink eyelashes and professional makeup. She has since advanced from a struggling makeup artist and beauty blogger to a social media sensation in no time and now has a successful brand (Huda Beauty) tucked under her belt.
15. Think of Solutions, Not Problems
While identifying problems is good, you also need to be able to solve those problems. In other words, if you don’t have the solution, it’s pointless highlighting an issue. Instead, shift your mindset to resolve an issue, even when the answer isn’t lying right in front of you. It’s all about thinking on your feet and adapting to the situation you’re in! If you can find this stability, you’ll undoubtedly succeed in your career.
Although you won’t achieve career success overnight, you can get there at a steady pace by following the above tips. You just need to make sure you put in the effort and stay focused on the prize. Don’t let small hurdles knock you off course or deter your interests. Remember: everything is possible once you set your eyes on it!
Have you got any other key pieces of advice to share with fellow professionals? Let us know how you achieved success in your career in the comments section below.