There’s plenty of career advice to be had for anyone looking for it. Most of the advice is very common, however, and rarely anything to help you achieve great success in your career. So what does it take to move ahead and achieve a level of success many want but few ever attain? Here are six pieces of advice no one tells you, but can make all the difference when starting down your career path.
1. Choose a mentor, not a company
Many people believe the goal is to find and work for their dream company. The truth is the best thing you can do for your career is to find the best boss to work for. Finding a great mentor can make the difference between being highly successful and moving up the career ladder or just being another employee looking forward to their yearly raise. According to Jim Rohn, motivational speaker and self-help guru, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Surrounding yourself with successful people can take you much further in your career than working for your dream company ever could.
2. Understand the unwritten rules
Being good at your job is important. At the beginning of your career, it’s probably the most important thing you can do. However, to move to the executive suite, it’s going to take more than being a competent employee. As you move up the career ladder, how you interact with people will matter much more. Being good with people and understanding the office politics at your company will have a much greater impact on how successful you will be than being technically proficient. If you’re serious about advancing far in your career, it’s those soft skills that matter more and will ultimately get you where you want to be.
3. Always be learning
In “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Alec Baldwin’s character told a room full of sales associates that they should “always be closing” if they wanted to have his level of success. If you’re serious about your career, you should take similar advice and always be learning. Some people believe they are done learning and studying once they leave college. The reality is your education has only just begun once you graduate. Those who are successful know that learning is a continuous process that will help them grow and be better at their careers.
4. Providing value is key
Companies can find many candidates who could do the job well. What they want are employees who provide value to the company. Whether value means bringing in new clients, finding processes that can get work done quickly while saving the company money, or new ideas that increase the bottom line, the employee who can provide the most value is the one who will get the promotion.
5. Execution matters most
Everyone has ideas and goals. It’s the person who can execute those ideas and goals who will get ahead in their career. There is no one roadmap to success. You can’t blindly follow another’s path and expect to end up in the same place. The real key is to take the information you have and act on it.
6. There’s success in failure
If you ask any successful person how they got where they are in life, their story will include the many failures they had along the way. Failure isn’t a sign of incompetence as much as it’s a sign of being willing to take risks. Those who are willing to learn from their mistakes are more likely to achieve success in their career than those who don’t. Playing it safe is rarely a recipe for mega success. If you want to be the best at what you do, you’ll have to be willing to take risks along the way.