Find a mentor. Network, network, network. Always be closing. Dress for the job you want. We could all make lists of overused career advice that’s been doled out to us. While much of it stays relevant, these days the most valuable skills today are shifting focus to employee development rather than outdated ideas like showing up early and staying late so the boss will notice your tenacity and give you a promotion. Here are three major tips to help you dig deep and do some self-improvement for the sake of yourself as well as your long-term career.
1. Become a Life Long Learner
If you plan to stay in an industry and craft a long-term career, you need to be committed to a lifetime of learning. We all remember the first time we got our foot in the door, and when it worked. Fresh faces, brand new to the industry, eager to learn. After a few years of seasoning, you may have become bored or feel your career is stagnating. Take charge of your career acceleration; do a bit of online research, take a class, add a new tool to your skillset. In order to keep pushing forward and leveling-up in your career, you must also push your education and always keep your knowledge of your industry growing.
2. Find your voice and own it (mastering communication).
Increasingly we’re relying on email and text message in the workplace, including employer to employee, business to business communications. There are two major reasons for this: it’s more efficient, and there’s a “paper trail.” Being a good communicator is more important than ever. A misunderstanding can get you in trouble with a client. A typo can cause a chain of extra work for an entire department. Be mindful with your words, and always double-check before you hit “send.” We all have that colleague or coworker that we hate getting emails from. Half-finished sentences, scattered thoughts, or just pointless ruminating on nothing. Here are two simple but significant tips for improving your communication in a professional setting.
Articulate yourself clearly. Your words bear power. With digital communication, there’s an actual paper trail of what you’ve said, and how you present yourself in text/on paper. To give yourself the best representation, keep it simple. Be polite, state facts and data in a clear manner. Double-check your spelling and your numbers. Use complete words and complete sentences.
Good communication is a two-way street. Many times we don’t allow our brains to fully process the information we’re receiving before we start formulating a response. Listen and absorb the data. If you’re a person who likes talking or start to feel that you’re not being heard yourself, try to shift your focus to honing your listening skills. Slow down, absorb the data and understand, without thinking of your response immediately. This goes for text and email communication, too. Slow down, read the email in full and understand what is being said to you before responding.
3. Let go of the ego.
One way to keep yourself in the same spot forever is to have a huge ego. Arrogance, entitled, “not my responsibility” attitudes aren’t the types of personality that thrive in an atmosphere of growth. In instances where you’re right and someone is in the wrong, be polite. Check where you’re feeling a little high and mighty. A go-to for checking the ego is mentally repeating “be humble, be gracious” when you find you’re feeling haughty, resistant to something or feel a task is beneath you.