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Career Success Basics

Anyone with more than a few months work experience will realize that success on the job is not determined solely by skills, level of education, or experience. Understanding the factors that govern getting ahead at work will lower your stress levels, and increases your chances of moving ahead.

The following seven critical rules should be considered in managing your career:

YOU are responsible for charting your own career path.

  • See the Investment in the assignment.
  • Opportunity is usually more important than money.
  • Publicize your successes.
  • Mistakes are acceptable if you learn from them.
  • Build a reputation for integrity.
  • Understand your organization structure.

Take Responsibility for Your Career Path

Many individuals take a passive approach when it comes to managing their career.  Do not rely on the organization or your supervisor to get you the training that you need to move ahead or let you know about advancement opportunities. Take an aggressive role in determining what training you need to “fill your tool box.” It is YOUR JOB, not your supervisor’s, to ensure that you take maximum advantage of organization’s training opportunities. Also, keep an eye out to make sure that your current assignments and training are giving you the right path to succeed.

Don’t Get Sidetracked

Think about how your current assignment will look on your resume and think about the overall balance of your career.  To move up to the top, you need to have a well-rounded background in your area of expertise. Keep your technical skills sharp and continue to develop your business, interpersonal, and administrative skills.

Opportunity Is More Important than Money

Many individuals take the highest paying job available without regard for working conditions, and advancement opportunity. Look at the big picture when taking a job to determine if it meets your long-term career goals.  Does the position support your development plan?  Does the position put you in a better position to enhance your skills and make job contacts?

Hire Your Boss

Put as much effort into selecting a boss as they put into selecting you. Make sure that your boss’s personality style matches your own, that he or she is supportive, has a good track record with previous employees, and that he or she will move up.

Research the boss’s reputation and ask some of her/his subordinates of their relationships.  In the interview, be sure and ask about turnover rates and, if they are high, the reason why.  Do not be afraid to turn down a job that “doesn’t feel right.”

Publicize Yourself

In your career, if no one knows about it, it did not happen. Put up those plaques that you won for teamwork and performance. Make sure that your significant successes are mentioned in the newsletters when appropriate. If you have pertinent experience for an assignment, then say so. Tell your management if you win a significant award.  Get someone to nominate you for an award that you feel you deserve. Also, make sure that your resume adequately reflects your accomplishments.

Dealing With Mistakes

Mistakes are acceptable if you learn from them. What an employer or a customer hates to see is someone who keeps repeating the same mistakes; someone who does not admit when they made a mistake; or someone who does not do everything possible to make a mistake right. If you make a mistake, learn from it, admit it, fix it, and move on.

Build a Reputation for Integrity

Build a reputation for integrity and helpfulness.  Remember that your reputation will follow you and can make or break job opportunities.

Understand the Organization

Find out what values, goals, or outcomes are important for success.  Create the link between your success and the organization’s success as a whole by measuring what you have accomplished, then sharing it with your supervisor and others in the organization.  -Rick Baron, PHR, CPC

Rick is a Florida-based Human Resources and Career Strategist.  You can find more advice and insights at http://www.rmbaron.com or contact him at rick@rmbaron.net.

Want to make a quick networking move?  Include Rick in your LinkedIn Network at http://www.linkedin.com/in/rmhbaron