10 Tips to Further My Career In 2011

Jan 2nd, 2011 | By | Category: abundance, Career advice, career choices, challenges, GPA, networking, new year, skills, strategy, success, tactics

The first couple weeks of the New Year are good time to examine your career goals and strategies. Taking time to reflect on how things went last year may give some ideas of teaks to be made to be more effective in the ongoing pursuit of established goals. Often just a small change in attitude or behavior can pay large dividends in the work place. There are countless lists of tips to enhance your career and position yourself for promotion. These are 10 ideas that, in my experience, form the basic platform of most successful professionals. By incorporating some or all of these ideas into your career strategy you can improve your professional reputation and career advancement.

1. Have a Plan; There are varying degrees of plans. My approach is to have a multifaceted plan designed to achieve a general goal. For example, instead of narrowing the goal to be head of your current department, and wider goal of being a department head gives you more latitude and room to maneuver. Once the goal is established, a high level strategy may serve as a map of skills, credentials and experiences required to achieve the goal.

2. Education and Experience; Two of the key elements in progressing along a career path is possessing the required education and work experience. There is a misnomer that once you enter the workforce your education and grades no longer matter. Unfortunately that is not the case. Education and grades have a way of popping up at the most inopportune time, and are unusually brought into focus by a competitor with higher GPA. So doing your best to get good grades is important. In a like manner continuing education is important to demonstrate continued interest and being current your career field. Reading and self study also keep you current, but there is no certificate of proof to list on your resume.

3. Developing a Reputation for Professionalism; Professionalism is a broad term and is often misused. Wikipedia provides several attributes of professionalism. Perhaps the six most distinguishing characteristics of professionalism are: attitude, character, competency, conduct, excellence and achievements. A respected reputation is a keystone building a professional platform.

4. Integrity: is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the quality of having an intuitive sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one’s actions (Wikipedia). Keeping your word, delivering work products as promised, doing more than is expected all add to your workplace persona.

5. Respect Professional Boundaries; Co-workers are not the same as social friends and acquaintances. Although most offices reach a level of comfortable social interaction where bullying and improper behavior is not tolerated, it is important to remember you and your co-workers are there to do a job. The better you can get along with everyone in your professional sphere the better your chances for promotion.

6. Excessive Criticism And Gossiping: What you say more often than not comes back to haunt you. No one likes malicious criticism or gossip. Although some use these as tactics to malign the competition, more often than not their goal is to drag you into saying something negative they can pass on. By avoiding being over critical and gossiping you may insulate yourself from excessive criticism and gossip. Do not hesitate to defend yourself from unwarranted criticism and gossip, with simple short statements of facts. If you make a mistake you may have to take the blame, but you do not have wear sackcloth for the rest of your career.

7. Professional Mercenaries; Soldiers of fortune, professional mercenaries have no loyalties their company or profession and will sign on with the highest bidder. Although changing jobs to enhance income and status, job-hopping will eventually catch up with you. The higher you progress in a company the more trade secrets you accumulate. Even if you do not divulge any trade secrets they are part of your skill and experience set. Companies may be reluctant to trust their inner operations to a person who will probably not stay around long.

8. Leaving on Bad Terms. If you do leave a job, leave on good terms or at least quietly. Even if you are fired, don’t seek revenge or make wild threats. Most times when an employee leaves they are soon forgotten, unless they make a scene or say nasty things, which seem to become indelible memories. Most often prospective employers will check with your last employer. The nicer the memories you left behind the better. It may take some acting, but hide your feelings until you are out the door.

9. Losing contact with colleagues. Networking is probably the most important skill in achieving your goals. People who will give you good recommendations, and advice are priceless. Dale Carnegie built an empire teaching his message of his famous book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Although written in 1937, it is still relevant and worth the read. The more people you have in your corner the better.

10. Positive Attitude: The better attitude towards work and coworkers the better your chances to achieve your goals. A poor or negative attitude does not go unnoticed. Only in the movies does the boss take a big interest in the misfit who goes on to become president of the company. In real life they are pushed to the side or out the door. Even if you have to fake it, put a smile on your face and convince everyone you are glad to be there.

Happy New Year and Good Luck
The PracticaL Mentor

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