When we are young, we are asked to choose a career. It seems important to identify what we love to do, and where we can apply our natural talents and interests. For many graduates, the expectation of a meaningful career is innate; if you went to school to train for your profession, you are virtually guaranteed to find rewarding employment in that field.
A successful career is not something you are given, it is an asset and goal that you constantly build. Taking our cue from some of the most successful leaders in business, here are three important mindsets and inspirations that can help you stay the course, and achieve the trajectory you want in your career.
It is a skill that doesn’t come naturally to many people, but networking is valuable when it comes to discovering new opportunities. Many of the best jobs are not advertised publicly, and employers seeking executive level employees rely on corporate recruiting to find the right fit. By networking within your profession, you can make it known that you are actively seeking a new role, through confidential channels, and make the connection.
A second important aspect about networking is the value of mentorship. Did you know that virtually every successful executive has mentors who were instrumental in their advancement? They don’t have to work for the same organization to provide meaningful advice and perspectives that can help you refine your skills. Mentors are a valuable resource that can be acquired through professional networking.
- Constant Learning
Technology is changing rapidly, and it impacts every industry unilaterally. If you asked a marketing executive how much the space of advertising and branding would change, ten years ago, they would have never predicted the socio cultural impact of social media on consumer sales. Executives had to be quick to embrace the pivot to digital marketing, or risk becoming extinct in terms of competitive skills.
People who work to establish successful careers are life-long learners. They look for free opportunities such as Twitter chats, webinars or livestream educational events to further their growth. They read books, and listen to leadership or industry podcast, and have organized methods for accessing the news that is important to their business and industry on a daily basis.
- Reputation Management
The skills you acquire and experience are important, but even the most talented professional can be limited by a bad online or business reputation. How does it happen? Consider the way you leave employers; is it on a positive and professional note? We know it is not always possible to leave every employer on “good terms”, however if you build a portfolio of negative impressions, it can deter future organizations from hiring you. Do everything you can to leave each role with integrity and respect, because it is an important aspect of your professional portfolio.
You are what you tweet. Social media is another important aspect of reputation management, and one that many professionals do not recognize as a threat to their career. If what you want to share isn’t appropriate to be seen by other people in your industry, create private personal accounts that can be seen by friends only. Many top level professionals maintain a private set of social accounts (friends and family only), and a public one, to comment on their industry, or as an advocate for their brand and business.
Professionals of all ages should be prepared to redefine their career throughout their lifetime. That means investing in continuing education and skill development, to remain competitive within the field. Be thoughtful about the image you are building, and work to expand your reputation within your organization and industry consistently throughout your career, in order to get ahead.