Here are my ‘ top 20 ‘ tips for achieving long term career success. While most of the list will apply to any work situation, it is aimed particularly at those working in the corporate sector.
1. What do you want from your job ? This is an obvious question, but the answer will change over time, so you need to keep asking the question. Regular sessions with an external coach/mentor would help this process, as will access to a work place mentor (formal or informal).
2. Choose a career that you enjoy and feel passionate about, as this is where you will be most successful in the long term. Don’t let money be the key driver of your choice of career. Also, give attention to choosing an employer – is this a place you would like to work?
3. Demand high personal standards of yourself , be independent minded and have a commitment to professional codes and ethical behaviors.
4. Develop your awareness of the internal culture (‘the way things get done around here’). Working within the unwritten rules of internal political structures is essential.
5. Get a work/life balance that allows you to focus on your career while maintaining equilibrium in the rest of of life. Otherwise one or both will suffer in the end.
6. Know your strengths and play to them. If you don’t know them consider working with a career coach.
7. Know your weaknesses ( equal if not more important that knowing your strengths) and work with people with complimentary skills, who cover areas which are not your natural strength.
8. Be a team player. There is little that can be accomplished in large enterprises without the collaboration of others, and being able to lead and participate in teams is essential.
9. Develop man management skills, if you want to progress up through the promotional grades.
10. Good written and verbal communication skills are essential. Remember that it is for YOU to communicate your message effectively not for others to understand you.
11. Develop strong working relationships with all work colleagues and resolve workplace tensions.
12. The boss is always right. By all means give your opinion but there will be times when you will have to implement decisions with which you are not in agreement.
13. Know that all careers have ups and downs (even applied to the late Steve Jobs ). Learn to take the rough with the smooth and know that whatever happens it is NEVER personal.
14. Be committed and focused but work smart not necessarily hard. Its results that count.
15.Take responsibility for your work (and your mistakes). Deliver bad news early (when there is time to do something about it) – nobody in the corporate world like surprises.
16. Pay attention to your appearance – adhere to dress norms. While it sounds trivial ‘power dressing’ is a reality.
17.Network internally and externally, you never know when you may need a favor and in the meantime it enhances your profile and standing.
18. Give credit where credit is due. Fully acknowledge and be supportive of those who support you
19. Know when it is a time for a change. Too often there can be a reluctance to face up the fact that it is time to move on to a new challenge, possible due to a fear of the unknown.
20. Lighten up and have a sense of humor. This is good for creativity and at the end of the day it is only a job!