Find yourself a mentor
A mentor can help you in many other ways during your career including making your advancement much easier. Finding a mentor is actually sound advice for all aspects of your life including finding a financial mentor.
Support The Support
From clerks and secretaries to cleaning staff, treat them well and you'll never regret doing so when crunch time comes. Learn who the support staff are and go out of your way to be helpful to them. They do a lot of the grunt work and don't get nearly the amount of appreciation that they deserve, so they notice when someone treats them well.
Timing Is Everything
Being on time actually means arriving to meetings a few minutes early. Co-workers that are running the meeting will appreciate your promptness and you will get a reputation of being reliable. The same goes for work that needs to be handed in to your boss. Learn to hand it in before it's due — this will show your organizational skills and get the reputation of being highly responsible.
If you find that you are always a bit late or rushed to get things done, use your free time to get ahead instead of waiting until the last second.
Pinpoint The Essentials
Working hard is important, but working smart is just as important. Working smart means pinpointing the areas within your job that are essential to your group and to the company. Once these have been identified, focus most of your resources in those areas. This is one of the best pieces of advice I ever received from my mentors. Take some time to look at your job and understand what parts of it are the most essential to others both inside and outside your work group. If you can pinpoint those important areas, you become the person that people come to when things need to get done
Become A Listmaster
I used to think that making lists was useless, until I started making them myself in a way that was useful for me. I actually have two lists –
- one is a list of all the things I want to do
- and one is my daily must-do list.
On the daily must-do list, I only place the three most important things I have to do that day and I will work on those three things until they're done. Once finished, I can go to my general list and choose projects from there. If I don't finish, then I keep working on that list of three the next day and until it's done. This ensures that I get done the things that I may not like to do as much so that they don't constantly get delegated to the end of the longer list. How you develop your own list may be very different, but creating a system will help you to accomplish more at work in less time. Once you complete something, don't throw the list away. Instead, date and file them in a work completed folder. This will allow you to have a documented list of all the tasks you've accomplished which you can take out at your next performance review or when asking for a raise.
Who's The Boss
No matter what the relationship, being able to talk with your boss about work expectations will almost always help your career much more than not talking. If you haven't talked with your boss lately, set up a time to do so and spend some time writing down the topics you would like to discuss.
There are far too many people who believe that education ends as soon as they walk across the stage and receive their college diploma. In fact, education is a never ending pursuit even if you aren't taking formal classes. There are a large number of classes that you can take, or skills that you can obtain, that will make it easier for you to advance in your career. Many will. Best of all, it's easier than ever to take classes while working full time with online education.
Redo Your History
It's always wise to have an updated resume on hand just in case. If you haven't done so in awhile, take some time to look over your resume to update it and improve it. Make sure that you have a few copies in your briefcase so that they are always ready to hand out. Having a resume ready is a great way to make a quality first impression and instantly shows your organizational skills to anyone that may be interested in hiring you.
It used to take a lot of effort to network. If you have already joined, take some time to explore and find some other people you may want to contact. consider joining Linkedin.
One of the most important things I've learned over the years that will help you in any career you choose is to stay in contact with people that you meet. . Spend a few minutes sending out emails to some of these people to reestablish contact or create a new contact.
Call To Arms
For the exact same reason that you should send out some emails, you should also make a few phone calls to catch up with peers and others. Calling is a more direct approach that will make sure that your message doesn't get lost in all the other emails the recipient receives. It's surprising how many times a contact phone call can lead to a new career opportunity that would have never developed had you chosen not to make the call.
An easy and effective tool which I often used when I was working for a large company was the lunch break. When I first arrived, I found myself in a new city and at a new company where I knew nobody. Inviting people to talk over lunch conveniently solved the problem of me not liking to eat alone. Later I continued to make lunch dates because of all the advantages that came from it. Lunch dates give you an opportunity to talk with people about ideas you have in a more informal setting than in the office. Making a lunch date is also a excellent way to network and catch up with peers and mentors, or to meet someone new you've wanted to talk to. If everyone seems to be too busy with their work schedule, lunch (and even breakfast) is an excellent time to set up a get together.
Make Things Eventful
Take some time to research what meetings, presentations, talks or events are taking place in your field of expertise and sign-up to attend. Not only will you likely gather some good information that will be useful in your job, these are excellent places to meet new contacts and expand your contact network.
Show Some Appreciation
If someone has recently helped you out in any way, take a moment to thank them. This is one thing that is hard to do too much of, so if you have any doubt, always choose to send the note of appreciation.
Reread The Writing On The Wall
Get into the habit of rereading everything that you write whether it be an email, a report or any other work related document, especially after a spell check. You will avoid a lot of amateurish writing mistakes and look a lot more professional in all your work.
The Write Stuff
Along the same lines as rereading your documents, it's well worthwhile to constantly work on improving your writing skills. Being able to put together reports, letters, proposals and other written information which draws attention to the important points among all the information presented is a great skill to have and will get noticed.
Impress From The Start
Dressing appropriately and having good hygiene and manners is important. It's often the little things that will set you apart from the average person. Learn to make eye contact when speaking to people, smile, and know how to introduce yourself confidently. Always arrive to business meetings or appointments on time (or even better, a little ahead of time). Take a few moments to make sure that you are making a good first impression with everyone you meet.
Speak Out Loud
Being able to make a quality presentation is an important way to get noticed and improve your career prospects. Listen to the way that your favorite speakers deliver their information and make the effort to adopt that style into your own speaking.
Know The News
One of my mentors told me that I should read something about current events everyday before coming into work and it's a habit I've kept to this day. Reading helps to spark new ideas, it will challenge your thinking process and expand your knowledge base – all things that can be helpful in your career advancement.
Switch To A Higher Gear
Being able to consume a lot of information is a skill that will always be a positive for any career, so learning to read and comprehend at a quick rate is a skill worth pursuing. There are a lot of speed reading tutorials on the Internet.Whatever method you choose, learning to read faster will ultimately help your career.
Start today putting aside 10 minutes a day to clean your desk until you have your work area in the condition you want, then you can move to maintenance mode. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much time you save looking for things, and an orderly office leaves a positive impression on co-workers and bosses.
Score Some Goals
I thought I could get away with general career goals that I had in my head, but soon realized the power that comes with taking the time to write them down. What really helped me was to give myself a time limit to achieve these goals.
While you may not always reach them, writing down specific career goals you want to achieve will get you a lot closer to them than not doing so. Consider setting them for various time periods: 3 months, 1 year , 5 years, etc. and then begin working toward them.
Establish Your Identity
Since I make my living this way, it would make no sense for me to leave it out. Creating a blog or website about your chosen career can be a great way to meet new people and share ideas. It can also be an excellent way to begin that part-time business that may eventually end up being your full time job, which is exactly what happened in my case. I have personally found that creating content helps to crystallize the things that are truly important to me. This, in turn, helps me realize what goals are most most important for me to achieve. Starting any type of blog or journal can help you to do the same.
Give Yourself A Break
Taking breaks is something which took me a long time to realize really does work. Taking breaks, stretching and taking short walks can all dramatically improve your energy level so that you work better. Take some time to think about the signals. Mine happen to be going to my email (instead of finishing what I should be doing), closing my eyes to try and refresh them and my shoulders getting sore.
Spend some time learning your personal signals that you aren't performing at your peak. Know when to take a break and you'll find that your productivity will dramatically increase
I'm a firm believer that if you want to have the perfect job, you're going to have to go out and create it yourself. While I have had many jobs over the years that I have truly enjoyed, it wasn't until I started building my own sites and blogs that I realized what true passion for something was. Begin part-time and build slowly when you have some free time, but start the process today. Five years from now you will be so thankful that you did and you might even find that it ends up being your full time work.
Fall In Love
Learn to love what you're doing, or begin looking for something else. Life is far to short to do something that you don't truly enjoy. There are times when you may have to take a job that you don't particularly like, but there is no reason that you have to be stuck there. If you don't thoroughly enjoy what you're doing, start implementing steps to get a job that you do love. There is nothing better than to get up every morning knowing that even if you weren't getting payed a dollar to do so, you would still be doing the same thing that you are doing. It's also much harder not to improve your career opportunities when you love what you do because the energy and enthusiasm you have for what you do tends to be infectious and draw people to you. If for some reason you don't know what you love, start experimenting. That's the only way to find out.
There are always plenty of things that you can begin doing that will improve your career as the above list shows. Pick a couple that you know you need to work most upon and keep at it. The more that you try to improve yourself, the more opportunities that will present themselves.