In today’s article you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to advance your career.
It has 10 things you can begin doing today to advance your career. None of them require any special skills or training, are quite self-aware and motivated enough to go the extra mile.
I know life is busy, so I’ve kept this article short so it does not interrupt your life. If you like it, share it on social media, and make sure to connect with me too!
How To Boost Your Career
1. Don’t Worry, Be Happy
I’m not going to lie to you or myself by saying that you must be a ball of happiness every day. Some days suck, and a few really suck. You will have the great and the bad, and the really bad.
Something I learned early in my career is, that nobody will ever remember WHY you had a bad day. It does not matter what happened at home, at work, who hit your car in the parking space, or what you and your partner argued the night before. They will not remember. However, what they will remember is your attitude.
If you are in a position where you are dealing with people, like the 99.9% of us who put on boots or loafers every day and go to work, you are dealing with people. One thing that will stick in their minds when someone asks them in ten years about you… YOUR ATTITUDE. Your attitude, your spirit, and your overall outlook on life and situations. So advice to you, stay positive.
It does not matter what day, week, or year you are having, when you walk into the office, you should walk in with a smile on your face and full of energy. EVERY DAY. If you do not like it, fake it. That’s right, find something that makes you happy and use it to force a smile on your face and a conversation with your colleagues.
In the end, a person with a good attitude is 10x easier to promote than a more competent person with a bad attitude. WHY? Attitudes are hard to teach, and almost impossible to change. You can teach anyone any technical skill out there: stocks, selling medical supplies, etc., but changing one’s attitude is a big challenge. Want that promotion?
Earn with a smile and a positive outlook! Your attitude is contagious and will uplift those around you. It’s so hard having a bad day when someone around you is at all times trying to lift you up.
Now earlier when I said fake it I meant it but it only worked for so long. If you are truly unhappy with your day-to-day career, then it is time for a change.
2. Keep thoughts to yourself and do not talk carelessly.
How does this apply to work? I say how not. No matter how good your boss is, you’ll at all times have critics for them.
No matter how great a company is, human nature is to have complaints. The best way to deal with it, if it is really something that’s bothering you, is to take the bull by the horns and turn him on. Don’t just sit around and complain about it. It will only make you look negative.
Would you like someone who is at all times complaining to join your senior management team and be the face of the company? I do not want either. So when faced with the choice of speaking ill of something or not at all, I at all times choose the latter (not at all times, and that I learned the hard way a few times).
Talking bad does nothing but divide the management team and make a negative impression on the company. This is your livelihood; why do you want to talk bad about it? In my opinion, this is most likely the number one thing that stands in the way of very capable and very bright people from getting the promotions they deserve; they’ve a negative attitude and talk bad about the boss or the company too much.
3. Don’t Let Them See You Sweating
There will be many times in your career, and life in general, when you’ll feel scared, angry, or frustrated. Depending on your personality, it may be the toughest task in the world to contain these emotions. Many of us wear it on our sleeves, myself included.
But you should. See, leaders are fearless, calm, reasonable creatures who must exude confidence and courage at all times. Is it fair? Your people can show all the emotion they want, but leaders must suck it up? I say that’s fair. This is your job.
Why? Because they chose you to lead for a reason. As difficult as it’s, you must set an example for your team, who are continuously watching you, whether you realize it or not. Your people will literally copy your demeanor and tone of voice, every day. Don’t get me wrong, you cannot walk around like a robot feeling nothing all day, and expect anyone to connect with you, but keep your emotions in check. Don’t cry, curse, scream… you get the point.
How do you achieve this? Being self-aware is the most significant part. If you feel your blood boiling, take a deep breath, walk away, and find a ladder or some clearing to scream at the top of your lungs. Eject it, then get back to work. As much effort as it takes to be strong in a group, your team’s emotions and overall performance will go a long way. They will reflect your strength and confidence.
4. Remember, you’re a Company Person
As you move up, your persona should align more and more with your management model. While you and your team may be close, and you may even be at their level recently and get promoted, your days of speaking ill of the boss or the company are over.
Hold, hold, hold. You may disagree with everything or anything done by the company or your top management. It’s okay to disagree. The best boss I ever had, and a habit I emulate to this day, is this: You can say whatever you want or disagree with the boss in private behind closed doors, but while at work in front of everybody, You agree and comply with company policy.
Talking badly about the boss or the company will at all times come back to someone, and it will have an effect on you. The next time they want to fill out a promotion; they will remember that you said some harsh things about this decision or that strategy. So be a company person. You do not sell, you become someone who wants to succeed in their career.
5. Never Watch Someone Struggle (And Not Help)
Come on in. Be a team player helping everybody win. Don’t worry about credit. Don’t worry about not being recognized. If you make assisting a part of your regular routine, big wigs will notice. If you spot a coworker in need and jump in to help them, you will not only impress your boss, but you will also form a valuable alliance with your coworker.
Part of being successful in the business world is getting people to help you and do things for you because they WANT to do it. If you have helped someone in the past, they’re ten times more likely to help you. As an added bonus, you might get promoted and become their boss one day, and their elephant-like memory will pop up and remind them of what type of person you are and how you helped them get out of a jam once upon a time.
However, one word of warning is not to push yourself too hard. It’s best to be excellent at some things rather than average at everything. Help anytime you can, but consider what you are doing before you do it. Make sure you do not spread it too thin and do not have enough to actually go around.
6. Have It, I Mean Really Have It
Many people claim they’ve ownership, but really don’t have any idea what that means. A common play at work is someone will own the crap out of a project if it goes well, but is nowhere to be found when things start going in the wrong direction. Failing once in a while doesn’t reduce anyone’s opinion of you.
I promise. You’re going to screw something up at one point or another. After a specific amount of time, nobody will remember that you messed up the XYZ report. However, they will remember very clearly, how you reacted to the situation. They will remember your demeanor, responses and demeanor throughout the event. So when I say own it, I mean own it.
Take the great with the bad; all that’s your doing. Capture the great and find ways to repeat it. Catch the bad and find ways to stop it. When someone asks you about the bad, your response is “it was my fault, here’s why, and here’s what I’m doing to prevent it from happening again.” What else can one say after that?
Having it also means being diligent. Crossing your fingers, wishing, and wishing for a little bit of luck means you are not spending enough time preparing or digging into the real issue. Ask your team great questions, discuss the details, and plan contingencies. Having one means being honest with yourself about how things are, and also being large enough to swallow your pride and ask for help.
7. Learn the Language and Pronounce it Well
Every business, company or team has a term. A certain way of speaking that contains some common keywords, but also has a little bit of uniqueness. There is a reason why top management uses these words; maybe they promote your vision or mission statement, maybe they simply like them. It does not matter why.
Being able to smartly incorporate them into the conversation will get you noticed right away. Don’t push it, understand the language and embrace how your upper management speak to one another. Pick someone in your chain of command who you respect, and learn their every word. Figure out when and where to use keywords or coined phrases, and work on them anytime you can.
8. Make Friends at Work, but Remember They’re Just “Work Friends”.
I do not mean to sound cold-hearted. I believe you can form great relationships at work, particularly considering the amount of time you spend with these people. But there are some important things to bear in mind. One day, the person you have spilled all these years with may be competing with you for a promotion.
As much as we’d like to believe they respect you more than throwing you under the bus, most will, sorry, throw you under the bus. It’s human nature. To watch out, and not let this occur to you, put aside your thoughts of the boss, the dirty laundry, or questionable household activities at work. Laugh, joke, carry on, but stay professional and never trash someone.
9. Accept Feedback, Even If You Disagree
Your career will be full of messes, mistakes, and missteps. Unfortunately, humans are imperfect and subject to poor reasoning and an absence of ability to forecast the future. You better believe that when things go south, you will hear it.
Get ready, and respond. Listen to and internalize all feedback, even if you disagree. No matter what, there’s something you can learn from any situation, even if it is just how things “feel” to other people, and not how things really are. The most effective way to respond to feedback is to thank the person who gave it to you, telling them what you learned and what you would do differently next time.
However, the most significant part is in fact learning from it. Use any and all feedback to keep improving yourself every day. Always approach feedback with a positive attitude, and it will certainly get noticed. A closed mind and a go-me-or-the-highway mentality will get you nowhere.
10. Be Smart
You can never know everything. That’s impossible. But do not let little things like that dissuade you from trying. At some point, no matter how many people you are, how great a leader you are, you’ll be judged by the level of your knowledge.
Most think knowledge comes with experience, and that is true. It comes naturally with experience. But nobody’s saying you can beat the race and begin teaching yourself. Whatever field you choose, throw yourself into it.
Learn everything there’s to know. Read articles, blogs, books and magazines. Watch news, documentaries or whatever helps you. The more you know, the more informed and ready you’ll be when the time comes to showcase your skills. Study, study, study, and you’ll be rewarded.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article on how to improve your career. I actually hope that its content has been of good help to you.