There are very few of us who want to stay at exactly the same place we started out in our careers. Whether we’re schlepping coffee-runs and desk-delivering courier parcels as interns or striving to be the best middle-manager in the firm, it’s natural to have our eye on the next step, be it a better designation, the corner office, or a fatter paycheck. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to go about this venturing forth on this path of career growth. Conflicting advice, horror stories of doomed efforts and visions of being relegated to the rejected pile keep us from seeking excellence
in our day to day work-lives.
Time to put a stop to all that. Here are our top tips to create the career of your dreams.
- Step 1: Have a clear idea of where you want to be or what you want to do.
Goals are lovely things because they narrow down your focus and give you something to work toward. When picking one, try and be as specific as possible. It doesn’t have to be a safe one or too easy to achieve, as that will kind of defeat the purpose. Choose something that’s just out of your comfort zone and if it is a scary and bold one, even better. You might just surprise yourself with how quickly you get to it and how achievable it really is when you decide you want it bad.
- Step 2: Plan your journey in chunks or short-term strategies.
The long-term plan may or may seem complicated, but if you break it down, it will help you in two ways; firstly, you will be able to commit easier to smaller goals without feeling overwhelmed or losing sight of your final destination. Secondly, the pleasure of ticking something off your list as ‘done’ is immensely satisfying and will motivate you to get to the next step and the one after that.
- Step 3: People around you are valuable assets.
Every job involves working with others even if you’re stuck in the Arctic Circle documenting the mating habits of emperor penguins. Being able to coordinate and collaborate makes us better workers in the long run and building things as part of a team is always a handy skill to have no matter what line of work you’re in. Do feel free to share your knowledge with others and foster an environment of mentorship both ways, you never know what connections come handy in the future. Organizations are always on the lookout for team players who can also function well on their own, since this makes them indispensable in the long run.
- Step 4: Flexibility and agility is a given, but work it all the way in every context.
Being able to switch between roles and functions can be an asset in a constantly evolving environment where multiple skills are always a plus. But being able to work with different people in situations where the pressure varies is a godsend. Managers are quick to notice someone who can adapt easily with minimum investment in terms of training and support. Be that person.
- Step 5: Own up to screw ups but give away credit like candy on Halloween.
Whenever a problem crops up, folks tend to be quick to point fingers and walk away from blame. It may seem counterintuitive to take responsibility when something goes wrong but this tends to show humility. It also displays an openness to learning from past errors without which moving ahead is fraught with paranoia. You don’t have to raise your hand every time something goes belly up, but throwing your colleagues under the bus is not going to earn you their or your boss’s respect. When things go right through, always, always share credit or point out the people who helped to make it happen. The goodwill that comes from this is invaluable and the powers that be are smart enough to know how crucial your role actually is even when you don’t tom-tom it from the rooftops.
- Step 6: Aim to become better than the job you’re in.
This can mean several things; you need to step out of the confines of being defined by what you do or the position you occupy in a firm. Learn more, do more, aim higher. Being effective is a great way to grow fast but train someone to do what you currently handle so that your seniors give you more responsibility to do bigger, more challenging tasks. This also increases your self-belief, which makes it easier for management to trust you with higher duties. Train harder, educate yourself in the trade and find gurus to follow from afar or up close. It will pay off in the long run.
Simple and doable if you put your mind to it, we believe these guidelines will be valuable irrespective of your current position and profession.