Coaching Singapore

Career progress made easy: 5 crucial habits of those who get ahead

How to get ahead in your career

We live in an increasingly free and globalized world, powered by technology.

As beneficial as these are, it also means our livelihoods are susceptible to disruption.

Gone are the days of the “iron rice bowl” or a permanent job with one company for life. 

There is competition for our jobs from multiple directions – from better-educated youngsters to motivated workers from other countries to artificial intelligence, to entirely new industries replacing traditional businesses. 

These can pose serious challenges for us moving up in our careers smoothly.

Whether you’re in journalism, business, engineering, technology, or sciences, there are going to be thousands of people who share the same skill set as you. 

Even though there are many new vacancies too, what is going to set you apart from everyone else and help you land and keep opportunities?

Also nowadays, just doing one’s job isn’t enough.

We have to constantly be aware of possible changes to our role, learn and master new skills, and grow our network if we want to stay relevant. 

The global workforce is changing, remote work is being adopted at a lot of companies.

Gone are the times when you can get a job at a company and work there till you retire.

The rules have changed. 

If you are not able to adapt, you will be irrelevant sooner or later. 

It is essentially the survival of the fittest.

This reality above can seem daunting at first.

But there is some light at the end of this tunnel. 

Here is a guide in which I share timeless techniques and advice for getting ahead in your career regardless of your current occupation.

Some of the career habits that we will be covering in this guide: 

These 5 habits will help you become competent and thrive in this new world of work.

All you have to do is to execute applying these hacks right away. 

Mark Twain once said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

So, let’s get to it. 

Habit #1 - Actively nurturing a quality network

Networking appears in many forms.

It could be a quick and informal email to someone like a coworker, senior manager, or a friend of a friend, asking them out to a coffee or lunch, a LinkedIn invites sent to the recruiter who posted a job you recently applied to.

Or an actual networking event intended for professionals within a certain industry or holding a certain job role (for example, a conference for project designers). 

Regardless of the strategies, you deploy to build your network, this should be your golden rule:

The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.

Genuinely be interested in helping others in whatever you can, without expecting anything.

Once you have made this a habit, you are bound to reap benefits from it in ways you wouldn’t have even imagined. 

If you’re around the right people, you will become smarter and more confident about your career.

In case you get laid off, you’ll have a network to help guide you to new opportunities—finding a job by submitting a resume isn’t usually the most effective strategy because you’re just one resume in a stack of thousands. 

Your network can help you cut through the clutter and get noticed.

People know people which can get you a lot of opportunities.

This is one of the timeless career hacks that has worked & will continue to do so.

So start building your network from today. 

Habit #2 - Doing what uses with your strengths

You need to know what you are good at and align your job/work role with that.

As you can never build expertise in an area in which you are not good at. 

Regularly practice identifying your strengths to recognize the environments that help you thrive and seek out those situations.

Your skills, personality traits, and experiences all contribute to your strengths in different areas and make you better suited for some professions or work environments than others. 

Even if you already feel that you understand your strengths, practicing writing them down.

Analyzing them can improve the quality of your reflections and provide insight into how you can use those strengths.

You have to be excellent in your chosen area of expertise. 

There is no shortcut to get ahead in your career.

There may be people who play politics and get ahead but these are few and far between.

The only way to stay on the fast track is to be so good in what you do that person has no choice but to promote you. 

Habit #3 - Becoming a problem-solver

One of the best ways to stand out as a budding leader is to be self-sufficient and demonstrate solid judgment.

A helpful mantra to follow is, “Be a problem solver, not just a problem identifier.”

When you raise an issue to your boss, be sure to also propose a solution. 

Busy leaders often get bogged down in solving every problem their team faces.

Do your boss a favor and find workarounds rather than just surface issues.

Deeply imbibe the mindset of always being a problem-solver and soon enough it will reflect in your personality.

You will serve as an asset for any organization that you choose to associate with. 

Voluntarily offer help to your colleagues, bosses, or during presentations where you are able to identify a solution to a visible problem.

This career hack will make you earn a lot of brownie points in the long run. 

How to get ahead in your career

Habit #4 - Dressing well & projecting confidence

Dressing up to looking sharp: 

You’ve probably already heard about the studies that prove that when you dress less formally, you’re also less successful when negotiating. 

Source: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550615579462 

But researchers recently found that how we dress affects us far more than we imagined.

Dressing up can actually make you more confident.

And in addition to confidence, you get a boost in creativity, or “abstract thinking” when you spruce up your style.

If you have a big project coming up or are going to need to think outside of the box, put on your power heels and favorite blazer—it might just do the trick. 

Projecting Confidence: 

Being a strong communicator is much more than what you say.

How you say it—both your body language and tone of voice—may matter more than the words themselves.

UCLA Professor Albert Mehrabian, an expert in nonverbal communications, proved through his research that what you say is negligible compared to how you say it.

Body language and inflection matter more.

That said, you can look like a leader through confident body language, including posture, stance, handshake, eye contact, and a smile. 

Habit #5 - Re-inventing yourself

Learning is essential to our existence.

Just like food nourishes our bodies, information and continued learning nourish our minds.

Lifelong learning is an indispensable tool for every career and organization.

Today, continuous learning forms a necessary part of acquiring critical thinking skills and discovering new ways of relating to people from different cultures.

To live a life without continuous learning is unthinkable.

The only thing that’s constant is change. 

Change in your career, change in your personal life, change in your community and organizations.

One of the most effective ways of dealing with change is with lifelong learning.

I have a blog on how to learn anything quickly, which is a worthy mental skill to develop. 

Click here to check it out. 

The bottom line is that you keep on improving every day, learn something new in your field, read a blog in your chosen area of expertise, find mentors who can help you, work on your soft skills and constantly reinvent yourself. 

Conclusion:

Leverage social media, learn new skills, grow your network, apply all the career hacks that have been shared and you will be all set to dominate your career game.

Though don’t forget that at the end of the day, you will have to put in the work in order to realize your career aspirations.

So be as patient with your actions and more so with your results. 

To your success!

Comment: Is there any hack that you personally benefited from to get ahead in your career which was not covered in this blog?

Let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear your stories.

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