I was recently invited to a podcast where I was asked to share some career tips from my three decades of experience in the corporate world. I have distilled these experiences into nine tips which I hope will be of use to the reader as we enter this new year.
3 Tips on adding value and progressing in your career:
1. Focus on doing your very best in your current role
The more you get caught up on how to get promoted or how to get a good salary increase, the more likely you will be distracted in performing your responsibilities well.
A consistently strong performance is your best ticket to that raise or promotion.
The right people will notice you, as long as you make sure you also exert effort in showcasing what you can do at the opportune time and in the right venue.
Speak up in important meetings and brush up on your presentation skills. Take my word for it, good communication skills will go a long way in helping progress your career.
2. Be of value to your boss, your team, and your organization
Find a way to add value to your boss and the company. Make their lives easier, and try not to be a burden to them.
Those who can help anticipate and solve problems, find innovative solutions and help meet organizational objectives, become more valuable to the team.
The best way to ensure that you are adding value is to align what you are doing with the goals and objectives of your boss, your team, and the organization. Make sure your efforts contribute directly or indirectly to achieving these objectives.
3. Always aim to leave a role in a better state than when you found it
A lasting legacy you can leave when you move on from a role is that you made things better when you were in it.
Improve ways of working, systems and processes, aim to outperform, help others succeed along the way, and make your mark wherever you are today.
More importantly, ensure that the improvements you make last, and benefit those who will come after you.
3 tips on making career moves:
1. It’s not all about the money
It’s easy to be blinded by an opportunity to improve your compensation and benefits in a major way.
Research a company’s culture, its leadership, mission & vision, and especially its values before considering that career move. Ask people who have worked there before for their thoughts.
Think deeply and carefully about whether you will be fulfilled working in that new environment. The initial high of better pay can flame out quickly.
2. Know and nurture your strengths
There will come a point in your career when you need to choose which path to follow for the long term. Early on, try different areas of interest to see where your expertise and calling really lie.
When you reach mid-career, you should have discovered where your passion is, and it’s a good time to narrow down the long-term path you want to pursue.
Do you like numbers? Or are you a people person? Maybe you prefer writing code and working alone?
Know your strengths and maximize your chances of success by choosing a career path that allows you to leverage these strengths.
3. Plant a forest
Each career move, whether upwards or sideways, is an opportunity to add skills and experiences.
Make the most of these moves, as if you are planting trees one by one in your career forest. As you move on in your career, expand your network, learn new skills, and add value to yourself.
Nurture each move like a tree that will one day be a solid foundation of your own forest.
It will all make sense one day.
3 tips for a lasting career:
1. Prepare for the long game
Focus on what you can control. Remember that a career is a long game, and the more you focus on things outside of your control, the more you waste precious time, energy, and effort.
You need to master how to take care of your mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health over the years. To avoid burnout, learn how to allot time for yourself and your loved ones outside of work.
Mindfulness matters. Take breaks in between those back-to-back meetings. Healthy eating and exercise surely matter. Getting enough sleep can do you wonders for the day ahead.
If you prepare well and work on taking care of yourself consistently every day, you can look forward to a long and fulfilling career.
2. Learn from both failures and success
Career moves will lead to successes as well as failures. Treat the failures as learning points that allow you to discover and know your strengths and weaknesses well. You will be wiser and more discerning when you make the next moves in your career.
I’ve had my share of missteps and u-turns in my own career. But I have not allowed them to stop me dead on my tracks. Instead, I have used them as valuable lessons to help me focus on getting back on the track I was meant to be in.
Oftentimes, we learn more from failures than successes.
3. Continuously make yourself relevant
As you choose a career that is aligned with your values, passion, and strengths you need to ensure that your skills are always relevant to the organization and team that you work with.
For instance, remote work and engagement have been forced upon all types of professionals by the ongoing pandemic. How have you re-skilled and re-tooled to make sure you are able to continuously communicate in an effective manner with your co-workers?
What other skills do you think you should acquire in order to be successful in the emerging hybrid work set-up?
Be relevant or be extinct.