Tips for Career Progression
Success in the corporate world is no easy feat. For young professionals, the path to reaching your “corporate dream” can sometimes seem out of your control. As a young professional myself, I am by no means “there” yet, in fact, I probably have a long way to go.
The fortunate thing, however, is that over my short career so far, I have come across many people who have reached their goals and are in my eyes are worthy of being called truly successful. Therefore, I’d like to share some nuggets of gold which I have learnt from them and the lessons I try to remind myself of each morning.
1. Accountability is key
Regardless of your title or status in the organisation, everyone has a job to do and accountability is key. When things aren’t going well, you shouldn’t blame anything or anyone but yourself. When things are going well, you must take credit for your successes.
Those who succeed are those who really treat their “job” as their own – taking sole responsibility for every aspect of their role.
2. Performance speaks for itself
People say “you’ve got to play the game to come out on top”. However, I am a firm believer that your boss and will judge you based on your output. Why spend so much energy on politics (which can often be a lot harder than actually doing your job) when you can focus on performing well? Ensure that you are perceived as a “do-er”, not just a “talker”.
3. Stop, revive, survive
As a young professional, your road ahead is a long and winding one, so don’t forget to stop once in a while to clear your head. You will often find that once you take a step back and use the time to reflect, you will come up with some of your best ideas. So don’t forget to take a breather every now and again, and don’t feel guilty about it.
4. If you don’t ask, you don’t get
If you appear happy and are performing well in your role, it can be easy for your boss to presume that you feel fulfilled in your career. If that isn’t the case, then choose the opportunity wisely to ask for a promotion or pay rise. Be sure to be equipped with documented evidence of your successes, do your research, be professional and patient.
5. Find a career mentor
At the beginning of your career, everything ahead of you can feel daunting and overwhelming. However, finding an appropriate mentor can help to relieve this stress, and help you think more clearly about your career. Other benefits include:
- A mentor gives you a sense of the bigger picture by sharing their detailed knowledge of your industry and real-life experiences
- A mentor can help you identify your strengths and fine-tune your skills
- A mentor will provide you will a wider support network
- A mentor will listen to your ideas in a constructive and non-judgemental way
I’ve been blessed to have had a few very good mentors who have helped me to progress in my career. When selecting a mentor, choose someone you can learn from, who you respect and who has a career you would like to emulate. I found one of my mentors at a networking event – I approached him, we spoke, we clicked, and ever since he has provided me with some excellent advice, which has saved me from many a sleepless night! So, make it a mission to find your career mentor, and let yourself be guided.
I hope the above advice has helped you think about how you can make the next step in your career. Regardless of what stage of your career you’re in, always know that there is still plenty for you to learn and to think about, and that there is always someone who is experiencing the same problems or hurdles as you.