Our Top Ten Tips to get you started or moved up the career ladder.
1. Have a Plan
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” so you need to start with a plan. It may be an outline plan rather than a detailed plan. And in today’s world you might want to have enough flexibility in the plan to seize opportunities as they arise, that you have not foreseen.
Have a strategy and goals in place and review it on a regular basis. If you know where you want to go, it’s easier to get there. Set an outline timescale to your plan so you can check and measure progress.
2. Be as Knowledgeable as you can
This doesn’t mean you need a degree. Think of all the successful people who don’t – Alan Sugar, John Lennon, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Make yourself an industry expert, knowledgeable in your field.
Keep your professional skills up to date, read trade journals, the press, take short courses, use e-learning or enrol at a University. Be sure to master any new technology your business uses.
3. Be a contributor
Take on more than you have to. Over perform, over deliver, demonstrate your value to your manager, colleagues and clients. Volunteer for additional tasks or projects, Adding value will safe-guard your career and propel you to the next level.
Whatever your position in a company, make sure you always have something to give. Ideas that will help improve the company will help you get promoted. They don’t have to be ground breaking ideas, but improving processes, increasing efficiency, introducing better practices will impress management
4. Work Hard
If you want to make it to the top you will have to put in some effort. Most successful people get to the top by hard work “99% perspiration, 1% inspiration “as the saying goes. Make sure your work is always complete on time and accurate. Offer to help others in the team who have a heavy workload or a tight deadline.
Expect to work late, volunteer at company events, and network at the weekend. If you are a dedicated professional, you will be rewarded by job satisfaction as your hard work begins to pay off.
5. Make yourself indispensable
Make yourself the person who can cover any job in the department when a colleague is ill or on leave. Be the person the line manager discusses new ideas with, the one who represents the department at meetings.
Create a situation where management know you are the most versatile, efficient and effective team member they have.
6. Deal with problems, find solutions.
Think ahead, anticipate problems, think like a manager and develop solutions to those problems.
Keep your line manager involved but don’t take the problem to your manager, take the solution. “This is the problem, I think we should handle it like this because …”
7. Be a Leader
Show initiative, and demonstrate your capacity for leadership. You have to want to lead, to delegate where required and make decisions that could be wrong, and be brave enough to admit mistakes.
Look out for improvements and suggest them, try them out, show your ideas can be effective and save time, money, or effort.
8. Excel at Communication
If you can’t communicate you vision and your goals to your leaders, they won’t know what you want or how good you are. You need to be able to communicate clearly, to be able to clearly state what you want to achieve and put your plan into action.
9. Take Responsibility
You will get used to making decisions so that people can see you are good at it and are not afraid to tackle issues by yourself.
‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ is very true. It’s who you know that’s going to get you through the door, and a step up the ladder, so remember that networking is key.
Make an effort to go to industry events, research who your peers are, and get to know them. Raise your profile in your own organisation.