Whether you’re working for yourself or others, there are certain factors that you should deliberately and steadily work to improve as a way to boost your career prospects. Here’s a brief rundown of each one:
The road to success is paved with basic skills like being able to speak informatively and persuasively to a group, write well, and understand both the big picture and the details of whatever business or profession you’re in. It’s also helpful to have some mastery of modern technology, beginning with general computer tools like email, word processing, and spreadsheets, but extending to whatever technology you’ll use to do your work.
Although the world is constantly changing, the ability to understand and communicate will never become obsolete. For the same reason, the need to learn new concepts and new tools will never lose its importance for career success.
Career success comes much easier when you are friendly, upbeat, likeable, and easy to get along with. Let’s face it: People enjoy working with – and are willing to be more helpful to – someone they like.
You don’t need to be the life of the party or the center of attention. But you will benefit from cultivating an open, warm attitude that shows your respect for others and also indicates a clear willingness to hear what they have to say.
It’s also helpful to recognize when to go along with the group (generally, when things are going well and work is getting done effectively), and when to exercise some degree of leadership (generally, when people are confused and/or the group’s direction and performance are not yielding needed results).
Some people succeed through good luck and connections. The rest of us get where we want to go through positive motivation and hard work. Even if you have good luck and useful connections, it’s helpful to be interested in career success and willing to strive for it.
The secret to positive motivation, of course, is to be headed toward a goal you really care about. Once you’ve got a suitably satisfying direction locked in, you’ll automatically be more positively motivated, in which case even the most extreme efforts toward success won’t feel like hard work.
Personal and Professional Development
One of the great joys of living – and a pillar of career success – is steady growth, both personal and professional. Just as children routinely add skills, knowledge, and abilities as they grow into adulthood, successful people maintain a steady diet of relevant seminars, classes, trainings, mentors, readings, and even experimentations in order to become more capable of achieving the success they want.
Incidentally, not caring about continuing your personal and professional development may be a sign that perhaps you’re on the wrong career path.
While Personal and Professional Development is all about learning and growing, Career Development is all about planning your way forward. You may be able to advance your career without planning, but failing to plan this part of your future is very likely going to slow your progress or even wreck your entire career trajectory.
You’ll find it’s very helpful to establish written goals that will move you along your chosen career path, as well as sensible plans for achieving each of these goals. It’s also important to keep alert to both short- and long-term developments around you so as to more accurately anticipate important changes and opportunities that may arise within your reach.