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Twenty Tips to Career Success


Below the career experts highlights some key tips to propel your career forward and to ensure sustained and long-term career success:

  1. Set goals
    Be clear on where you would like to go with your career and formulate a 1, 3 and 5 year plan to get there. Set realistic milestones and targets, take inventory at frequent intervals and update these plans regularly.
  2. Find a mentor
    Identify someone in your field who can advise and counsel you in matters career-related and refer to this mentor in making the important career decisions as well as in negotiating the nuts-and-bolts issues that confront you on a day-to-day basis.
  3. Mentor somebody
    Become a mentor yourself to a younger professional to stay networked, build a reputation in a different peer group and stay abreast of developments in other divisions or companies.
  4. Know yourself
    Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses so you can work on them and try to see yourself as your peers see you bearing in mind that perception are everything.
  5. Never stop learning
    Invest in yourself by becoming a life-long learner. No matter how valuable our skills are, chances are they can be updated and upgraded through ongoing learning and training. Take responsibility for your own development and make sure you stay ahead of the learning curve by constantly updating your professional skills and credentials.
  6. Hone your communications skills
    Communication skills are essential to career success. Learn to give and receive constructive feedback, to persuade effectively and to solicit help and garner resources. Effective communications also entail learning to listen actively and attentively.
  7. Keep the company's goals in mind
    Treat your company as your most important client and don't lose sight of the company's vision, mission, values and objectives in anything you do. Also bear in mind the company's policies and procedures and seek to work within them or work with the leadership teams that amend or improve them.
  8. Use your performance appraisals effectively
    Performance appraisals are your opportunity to take on added responsibility and discuss where your career is headed and how you can propel it in the right direction by garnering the appropriate resources and support; use them appropriately.
  9. Network
    Whether it's through joining professional associations or being active in college or high school alumni clubs or other networking forums, it is important to remain networked in the community and to continue to broaden your circle of influence and network of contacts.
  10. Volunteer
    Represent your company in a community initiative or join a local community drive to make a difference and heighten your visibility outside of your immediate professional circle of influence.
  11. Work on your interpersonal skills
    Treat others as you would like to be treated - manners, respect and generally courteous behaviour travel a long way in the workplace.
  12. Never bad-mouth bosses or peers
    The surest way to lose the respect and trust of your boss or peers is to bad-mouth those you work with or previously worked with. Avoid office gossip and spreading negative opinions at all costs.
  13. Upgrade your job
    Bearing in mind that responsibility is taken, seldom given, always be on the look-out for new functions and responsibilities to add to your job description. Make yourself an indispensable part of the team by showing an eagerness to grow in your job and continuously being open to new methods, ideas and initiatives that positively impact the company's bottom line.
  14. Develop a reputation as an expert in your field
    Seek to become known as a true professional, a star player, someone who goes an extra mile in his/her job and who is a genuinely invaluable resource in a particular area. A reputation as an outstanding performer is your best asset in negotiating raises and promotions.
  15. Promote yourself
    Make sure others in the company, especially your superiors, know of your role and your accomplishments. Publicize your achievements and don't be afraid of blowing your own horn in order to get the recognition, praise and promotions you deserve.
  16. Be passionate about what you do
    The best way to excel is to be genuinely passionate about what you do. Enthusiasm is both visible and infectious and you will find others in the organization as well as clients naturally gravitating towards you as your eagerness and passion for your job makes itself known.
  17. Look the part
    The most accomplished professionals are not necessarily the best dressed but good grooming and professional attire do convey the image you want to portray and leave an important lasting first impression.
  18. Work smart
    Focus on those aspects of your role that genuinely impact the effectiveness of the organization and company's bottom line; its not just about how many hours you put in and how hard you work but also about the value of your output.
  19. Leave your personal problems at home
    No matter what is happening with the kids, the neighbors or the family, the workplace is only for dealing with workplace matters; leave all personal issues strictly at home.
  20. Be a team player
    Today's workplace necessitates being a team player and working well with others. Be co-operative, eager and always willing and prepared to pitch in to make a project succeed.

Remember, if you follow these simple career tips you are not only optimizing your career, you are optimizing your life.

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