Since I’ve dedicated such an extensive part of my own career to work with talent; recruitment, attraction, retention, employer brand positioning, social recruitment etc., I have now also coached some younger gifted people around me in regards to their own career. Some people were excited about my advice and insight due to my knowledge of the recruiter mindset. Some others even mentioned my own career as an inspiration and something to learn from in itself. Either way I was and still am happy to help.
I figured I’d mention some of the things which often is repeated as a conclusion in our conversations no matter who the person is or which industry he or she is actively working within. Mainly because I personally believe these general things is something every single one of us could learn from.
The pointers below are my main advice to go through, consider, reflect upon and where you actively have to choose a path.
1. What do you want to achieve?
The first thing you must decide upon is what you want to do. It sounds so logical and simple when written out but it is actually one of the hardest choices to make. Some people have asked me: “Should I endulge into what I am skilled at already?” My answer to this question is: “Maybe.” This for the simple reason that what you are skilled into might not be what you actually dream about being successful into. You need to relish and grasp your professional dream and as you realise what you would love to accomplish, then you know your target. It is very good if this happens to be a field where you are already skilled. But I would advice you to choose the field where you want to be successful any time of the day before pursuing a career into a field where you happen to be skilled but lack ambition to become great.
In short; Follow the dream. Reaching only half way into that will always make you feel more accomplished and successful than if you reach all the way into something you’re not equally passionate about.
Career to some people is only about climbing on the managerial ladder. I believe it is about accomplishments, successes and experiences. And some experiences and successes might be great to you given where you started of. And those you will always carry with you. Don’t trick your heart of those experiences. That is going to become your professional life story. And that is something far greater than climbing the ladder.
2. Success is relative. Choose ambition level.
A very common question is if someone should have discovered this passion a long time ago. My very simple answer to this is: “No. You’re not too old.” The concept of age is only about how much time you have to accomplish your successes. And if your viewpoint on what success really is about is relative to yourself and you measure your progress towards yourself rather than someone else, then time is irrelevant.
You are not too old. Use the time you have. Your mindset and ambition level is as important as knowing what you want to achieve.
Having answered question 1 and 2, you now know what you want to do, what you aim to accomplish and how far you would like to go. These three things are cornerstones for you in your future decision making.
3. Plan your journey
There are many roads leading to Rome. You must understand how you are going to get to Rome your own way. Every individuals journey is different. We all have different conditions, some of us have children some don’t, some of us have different educations, some have different networks etc. These things are going to become tools and will heavily affect how you reach your destination.
Map potential routes. Do you need to take certain jobs to gain experience? Would some courses help you? Are there people around you you could seek advice from or who could refer you to someone valuable? Identify people who do just what you would love to do, book meetings with them and ask them about their experiences and advice for you. Be open minded, don’t directly turn down potential openings without first understanding how they could bring you closer to your goal.
Know your strengths. Are you a great networker, are you a hard worker, are you an accomplished team worker, are you great at analytics? Use them as you make your plan and see to that you get known for these attributes at your work place.
4. Eye of the tiger
Now when you know how to reach your goal, put some deadlines on yourself on certain activities. Take command of your professional life story. If you leave it until tomorrow rest assured you might wake up one day realising you might never reach what you aimed for. Remember that no one else is going to give you anything. You have to be decisive and determined on reaching your stipulated goal. Work hard to show everyone around you including yourself you mean business.
In any meeting I’ve ever attended together with other decision makers I know from experience that there is nothing that impress more than a person who a) doesn’t whine and complain, b) have a winners attitude, c) show energy and desire to succeed and who d) is willing to work hard to be successful. These people are often mentioned with a smile and nodding heads agree that this is a person we “can’t afford to lose”. Be that person.
5. Openness with manager
Don’t think your manager will go around knowing your ambition. Don’t think your manager is going to come running with rewards in line with your ambition unless you actively push him or her on what you want.
Be transparent. Tell your manager about your desired goal. Talk about it. Ask your manager what you must accomplish if you are going to get this reward. Then work hard, fulfil these things which your manager asks of you.
6. Deliver first. Demand later.
This is one of the most important parts. Don’t be needy. Don’t question your manager even if you have some opinions on how things are. See to that you deliver results before you demand change, progress or question how things are done.
Someone who deliver results is taken seriously and opinions will be seen as important feedback. When delivering results this is even important as it shows you as a person have the ability to look at some things outside your role. Someone who question things before delivering results is not as believable.
7. Professional elevator pitch
See to that you have a knock-out answer to the two questions: “Why should you be the one who land this job?” and “What can you offer within this area?”
You want to be able to throw those answers in when the moment arrives. Dare to be open about your ambition and convince yourself about these answers. Self confidence and belief in your ability is as important as anything else.
8. Online profile
Think through your profile online. Make it attractive, tasteful and make your personality stand out. Think through what of yourself you could use in your professional story online which would give you an edge. Maybe you know some languages that would give you a cutting edge in what you want to achieve? Maybe you have an ethnic background which could you an upper hand? Maybe you have certain skills or experience which could help you?
9. Dare to be one of 10%
This is an under estimated criteria but very effective if used properly and with some common sense. Dare to do what only one in ten does if you are truly going to reach where you want. Raise your hand in the middle of a seminar and ask the lecturer something. Re-connect with the lecturer after the seminar and show interest and connect on LinkedIn as you’re done. Reach out to a person on social media you are inspired by, book a lunch and ask for advice. Dare to give candy to someone in the office for helping you with your e-mail settings. Dare to send a funny picture to everyones e-mail.
Remember; if you are doing this you must deliver results. Results first. Attention on you later.
To me, people who dare to do this and are competent enough to keep it decent, they often stand out. They often have other people around them who like them. That is a powerful resource when decisions is taken either by you or about you.
10. Have fun
So simple and so important. Don’t forget to have fun. Progress and reaching goals is done because you’re likeable. And reaching goals when being stressed, bored or too busy to pay attention to life and people around you, is not something you will be proud of later on. Get shit done. And have fun.
Thank you for reading,