There’s a famous book, later turned into a play and then film: how to succeed in business without really trying.
In it, the main character gets ahead without really trying—for instance, by showing up for work before everyone else in the same clothes he wore the prior day, pretending to be asleep when his boss arrives. It gave the appearance that he was a relentless worker, and he continued to climb the proverbial corporate ladder.
Of course, there are endless get-rich-quick schemes for enjoying similar success, but typically, the lazy and uninspired workers are eventually revealed for who and what they are.
There are few shortcuts for achieving durable success in advancing your career.
It requires hard work, perseverance (and a little luck never hurt). Below, we offer recommendations for how to get ahead in your career.
- Establish clear goals: Success is not left to chance. By developing clearly defined goals and a plan to achieve them, you proactively determine a path and means to get there. As part of your plan, set a timeline for achieving career milestones—for instance, the number of years to be promoted to vice president or earn a certain salary.
- Write it in (erasable) ink: Once you establish your goals, write them down and keep your list in a prominent place where you can reference it often. However, don’t be afraid to revise your plan over time. The key is to have clear goals that you can visualize and that help motivate you.
- Be assertive: You are your best advocate. As such, don’t be afraid to speak about your career goals at work, making sure that you do so respectfully and professionally. Ask for more responsibility if you don’t feel you’re getting a fair chance, or see about taking on more work if your load is too light. Those requests can go a long way in having your supervisor reassess your capabilities and qualifications.
- Network for success: With the proliferation of social media, it’s never been easier to network with peers and colleagues. Consider posting regularly on LinkedIn, for instance, and follow others in your line of work, liking their posts. The virtual interactions have
a cumulative effect in building awareness for your brand—you—and keeping your name top-of-mind when there are work opportunities.
Don’t limit yourself to social media. If you’re in a physical office, seek out seminars and conferences, mingling with participants to broaden your network of connections.
- Get a mentor: Having a mentor with relevant experience in your field can help in your career advancement. A helpful mentor will provide you with valuable advice as well as connect you with others in their network. That mentor might be a university professor or someone higher up in your company. Be respectful when working with your mentor and express gratitude for their support.
- Continuing education: Taking continuing education classes is a great way to learn new skills and gain the necessary background to gain responsibility in the workplace. You can find opportunities in industry associations as well as local community colleges.
- Dress for success: While most workplaces today may lean towards business casual, it helps to look professional and neat when coming to work or attending networking events. This doesn’t mean wearing a tie when none is required; rather, it means making sure everything is clean and presentable. (For example, if you like your morning jog, make sure you shower before arriving at work.)
- Volunteer to move: If an opening becomes available in your company, consider volunteering to help other teams. This is a great way to show that you’re a team player and eager to accept new challenges. Additionally, by working in different areas of a company, you gain well-rounded experiences that can further your career, whether with your existing company or future ones.
- Marry into the boss’s family: OK, we’re kidding. But it wouldn’t hurt (as long as you stay married).
By adopting these and other actions and behaviors, you can have a positive impact on your career and prospects for success.
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. This material was prepared by LPL Financial. Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor that is not an LPL Financial affiliate, please note LPL Financial makes no representation with respect to such entity.
Not Bank/Credit Union Guaranteed | Not Bank/Credit Union Deposits or Obligations | May Lose Value | Not Insured by FDIC/NCUA or Any Other Government Agency.
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