Contrary to popular opinion, there is no mystic mantra for achieving career success. The strategies for achieving career growth and success combine plain old hard work, planning, and common sense. This article examines a few such strategies.
Improve your employer's ROI (on you of course)
Like it or not, we all get paid to produce results (unless your employer is unusually benevolent). Ideally, the employer expects you to be at par with – or at best, outperform – established objectives for your position. The employer pays you a certain salary and expects you to return more than what is invested on you; in other words a high return on investment (ROI) is expected. Work hard and do everything possible to deliver a high ROI.
Learning never ends, they say. Continuing investing in professional development – training programs, professional associations, education, certificates, reading professional literature, and the likes – will help you stay abreast with the latest advances in your field, and also a step above the competition. Set aside an annual budget (if your employer does not sponsor) for your professional development and growth.
Top professionals constantly challenge and reinvent themselves, pushing the bar to achieve more every time. If you are able to produce 100%, try for 110%. Constantly challenge yourself to achieve more every time.
Become a valuable resource
Do people come to you for advice very often? If not, take steps to become an expert in your profession. From internal employees to the media, you must be viewed upon as a valuable resource. Look for publishing (articles, books, etc.) and public speaking opportunities in your profession.
Love all, serve all
No, I am not trying to preach. Try volunteering on projects, community initiatives, company presentations, internal committees, etc. Take on extra tasks. The rewards of such service (translation: the extra mile) will go beyond the professional frontier. Being perceived as "helpful" and motivated could do wonders for your career.
Learn to work through the political machinery
You do not have to become a conniving politician in order to achieve career growth (success). Just know what to say and when; avoid confrontations, disputations, etc.
Improve your visibility
Do you attend company events, conferences, etc? Does your boss know what results you are producing? If not, you might be missing out on great opportunities.
Network, network, network
If I could, I would summarize this article in three simple words, they would be as follows: network, network, network. Knowing the right people, both within and outside the organization (especially experts, authors, and industry leaders) can do wonders for your career. If you do not have a mentor, consider having one. The right mentor can make a significant difference in your career.
Become a better leader
The corporate world values leadership skills like no other. Irrespective of your profession or position title, leadership skills are always desirable. Be proactive and develop your leadership skills.
Follow professional ethics
Qualities like punctuality, reliability, precision, diplomacy, enthusiasm, positive attitude are always valuable. The stronger your professional ethic, the more successful your career will be.
Although success does not come overnight, common sense, hard work, and careful planning is what it takes to catapult even an ordinary career to enviable heights.