We all want to be successful and have that feeling of accomplishment. I know for me, it’s such a satisfying feeling to set a goal and to reach it or even to surpass it. Navigating the professional world can be difficult and might feel like you’re walking on a thin line. I want to share my three do’s and don’ts to get ahead in your career. These will help regardless of the industry you’re in. You can even apply them to your family or home life as well. Your job will feel overwhelming at times, but believe me when I say you will get through it. You’ve got this! Now, let’s get on to my three do’s and don’ts to get ahead in your career and get your dream job!
DO: Have a solution. DON’T: Only bring up problems
I remember in college my news professors would say, never come to your producers with just the problem. Always have a solution. I think this is applicable regardless of the career or situation you’re in. This would apply in relationships and life, too! Of course, make management or your higher-ups aware of the problem, but only briefly. No one wants to hear only the problems. If you only come forward when there’s an issue, your boss will associate your presence with negativity, which is not a good thing. Even if your solution is something your superiors don’t ultimately go with, it shows you’re thinking ahead and willing to help problem solve.
Next time something goes wrong, before you make it known, think about ways it could have been fixed or avoided. That said, don’t immediately jump into presenting your solution. Make sure it’s well thought out and keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues or team members for their ideas, too. They might have just the solution you’re looking for.
DO: Network with Others. DON’T: Gossip or partake in it.
Networking is key. My agent for my news career would always say, “Your net worth is your network.” I couldn’t agree more. Men and women network differently and this could lead to why men rise to the top quicker and aren’t as discriminated against. When you are networking look for someone who can help you and you can help in return. Don’t let the fact the person is a man or woman push you dissuade or persuade you. This person doesn’t have to be your friend, so don’t cross them off the list just because you don’t enjoy spending time with them. When networking and/or looking for a mentor, look for someone who will give you honest feedback and challenge you to be better. It might feel transactional, reaching out for help so make sure you offer help right back.
Don’t gossip. This is easier said than done as it’s human nature to love to gossip. But remember, we are all adults and transparency and honesty should be present in every workplace. If it’s not and you find yourself in a rut, you might want to think about changing your work environment. As a refresher, this is what constitutes as gossip: rumors, false information, not correcting false information, making fun of or belittling something or someone, sharing confidential or personal information and not stopping unethical communication. That’s quite the list.
My first tip is just to avoid it. I cannot stress this enough. Don’t add any comments, don’t get drawn in. If you find yourself stuck in a situation, where others are saying something negative about someone, say something positive you know is true. Sticking up for that person can quickly quash gossip. Don’t share too much about your personal life, especially if you’re new to the workplace.
DO: Be a team/utility player. DON’T: Let others take advantage of you.
You’re hired to do a certain job but chances are, something will happen and you’ll need to help pick up the slack. It could be completing a project another colleague started, learning to do something new or just helping with the monotonous work. By being a team player and stepping in when others need you, you assert yourself as someone who is willing to put the end product first. This will get you noticed by superiors and also help you learn new skills. It can be scary to take on a task you don’t know if you’re qualified to do, but ask for help and learn quickly.
However, do not let other people take advantage of your willingness to take one for the team. If you’re a working professional, you shouldn’t be getting coffee or picking up dry-cleaning unless it’s an emergency. If you find yourself always being the one asked to pick up extra tasks, bring it up with your boss. Say you appreciate the extra responsibility but would like to get back to focusing on what you were hired to do. Be firm and stand up for yourself.