There is no shortcut to career success. Even those who begin with ample financial and professional support need to show up to work, form positive connections with their peers, make wise and effective decisions and otherwise demonstrate that they can have a positive impact before they will be deemed successful in their careers.
Still, there are a few tricks that can make career success slightly easier for anyone to achieve. No matter where you are on your career journey, you can benefit by taking the following actions in your workplace:
Find a Mentor
Mentorship is easily among the best programs you can participate in at any point in your career. Studies on mentored individuals have found a “wide range of favorable behavioral, attitudinal, health-related, relational, motivational and career outcomes,” regardless of whether mentorship took place in an academic or workplace setting or at some point during youth. Many organizations are creating mentorship programs as inexpensive and effective career development opportunities for staff. However, if your current employer does not have a formal mentorship program, there are alternative paths for mentorship, such as:
Approaching a business leader you already know. It tends to be easier to develop a mentor-mentee relationship with an industry expert who is already familiar with your work. You might request mentorship from a business leader in your current organization or one from a past employer. If they do not have the capacity to do so, they will likely recommend someone else in their stead.
Networking at an industry conference. Generally, it is a good idea to attend an industry conference every so often as a means of making new connections and refreshing knowledge and skill. Because conferences tend to feature industry experts in lectures and panels, you could have the opportunity to meet and cultivate a mentor-mentee relationship through such an event.
Mentorship can be time- and energy-intensive for both mentor and mentee, so if you are acquiring a mentor outside a formal program, you might need to persuade them to participate. When you make your pitch, you should reference what you appreciate about your prospective-mentor’s career and what you expect from the relationship. You should set boundaries that you both can follow and goals to track through the course of the relationship. Thanks to the guidance you receive from your mentor, you should see remarkable improvements in your career.
Become an Expert
If you enjoy the effort of gaining new knowledge and skills, you might not need to connect with an industry expert — you can simply become one. The internet makes it easier than ever to accrue information about any field, and with dedication, you can establish yourself as a top mind in your industry. You can engage in formal education like online short courses, self-direct your learning with resources like books and attend industry conferences to learn directly from established experts. If there are skills associated with your field of choice, you should deliberately practice them.
Once you have a relatively firm grasp on your field, you should showcase your expertise. You might publish resources of your own, like blogs or podcasts, or else participate actively in industry groups on social media. Your goal should be to amass a loyal following, which should bring your name into the industry spotlight. Once you are recognizable as an expert, employers will be eager to offer you any role or reward you wish.
Most workers quickly discover which jobs are easy and lucrative and which jobs are unfulfilling though nevertheless essential. It is not uncommon for organizations to see a handful of less enviable tasks left to the last minute or neglected entirely because so few workers are interested in devoting their time to activities that they perceive as less rewarding.
In your workplace, you should look for the type of tasks that are necessary to the functioning of the organization but often ignored or reviled by your peers. By taking initiative and completing these tasks with greater enthusiasm than is typical, you will likely attract the attention and appreciation of your superiors. What’s more, by becoming familiar with these tasks, you might be able to identify inefficiencies that are causing them to be so detested by the rest of the workforce, and you might devise solutions that further endear you to leadership. Every organization has such a niche, and discovering yours could catapult you to success.
Simple and easy are not synonymous. Success is never easy; no matter where you start and where you hope to end up in your career, you will need to devote time and effort to achieve your goals. Still, the path to success does not need to be convoluted. Simple strategies like those listed above can work wonders to bring career success into clear focus.