5 Ways to Achieve Career Success

4 minute read

Today,
more than ever, is about tomorrow. In the business world, things are changing
at a historically-unprecedented clip, and it’s imperative that you become
increasingly forward-thinking in plotting a professional development plan to
match. In effect, the rapid pace of change we’re facing in the modern era has
serious implications for your career. For example: It wasn’t so long ago that specialization
was key and a career at the same company doing the same thing over and over on
the job would be rewarded over a long­term horizon. But in a fast-moving,
highly-unpredictable business world, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the
old model for professional advancement is broken, and a new model is being
forged. Here are five things you need to know about how the working world has
changed, and how to ensure continued career growth going forward.

  • You’ve Got to
    Create Your Own Job Security
    – Good enough is no longer good enough. You must
    be essential. You must see opportunities
    others haven’t. You must solve problems most don’t realize exist. Look for
    crucial links (i.e. irreplaceable job roles) in the chain that hold your
    business together – ones that are fundamentally difficult and expensive to
    replicate. Then make it your mission to transform yourself into these links.
    Become essential by seeking out capabilities, insights, training, skills, experiences and
    contacts that are inherently rare and difficult to come by. The more uniquely
    value-adding you are, the more difficult you and the benefits you bring to the
    table are to be outsourced or replaced. For example: You might be your
    company’s go-to expert on resolving complex regulatory issues or most trusted
    IT security pro.
  • Professional
    Development Must Be Constant and Ongoing
    – Anticipate
    change, and change in tune with it, by consistently prioritizing professional
    development, and proactively seeking out the talents, training and skills that
    will be in-demand tomorrow today. Doing so requires being purposeful about
    where you wish to be in your career, and seeking out specific opportunities
    that can help you acquire these assets. Consistently push yourself to learn,
    grow, and expand your comfort zone if you wish to expand your talents, insights
    and capabilities as well – volunteering for or assuming new roles and
    responsibilities can help you accelerate personal growth. Note that when
    pursuing unfamiliar tasks or goals, it may help to take small steps in new
    directions before attempting larger ones.
  • Relevancy’s a
    Moving Target: You Must Change and
    Evolve As Well – Be proactive – if you can see change
    coming tomorrow (i.e. impending layoffs) and make your adjustments today (e.g.
    getting the skills and contacts you need to move forward in different
    directions), you’ll be ahead of the pack. Anticipate the future and figure out
    what changes are going to affect your role. Then, selectively target the
    resources, skills and connections you will need to thrive in the face of
    change. Hint: Rather than wait for career opportunities, actively seek them out.
    Instead of hoping for serendipity to strike, create your own luck by taking
    steps to put yourself in fortune’s sights more frequently. As an alternative to
    exercising the same job skills and talents day in and out, look for ways to
    pick up new skills, or put the skills and talents you already possess to new
    and novel purposes. Actively experiment with new business solutions, sign up
    for or volunteer to take part in projects that push your problem-solving or
    creative abilities, and partner with others to bring new ideas or implementations
    to life. The more opportunities you get to exercise your creativity, the more
    creative you’ll be.
  • Always Be
    Learning
    – It’s great to master a given topic or skill, but what happens when that skill becomes irrelevant due to
    changing business environments or technological innovations? Have a
    professional escape path – or better yet, several – in mind and build them by
    making yourself an eternal student. Build your chances for sustained success
    embracing the unknown and gaining the knowledge and experience to make the
    right adaptations when necessary. It may help to consider where you can easily
    extend your skills into new areas. For example, if you’re a professional
    copywriter blessed with strong communications skills, perhaps it wouldn’t be
    hard to make the leap to becoming a content marketer, TV producer, or social
    media pro.
  • Never Clock Out – Don’t clock out when the workday ends, and don’t
    stop learning when the classroom door closes. Put off-hours when others shut
    down to work towards your advantage by using them to pursue side-projects or
    interests that can help you build your experience, education, or business
    skills. Make your work portfolio your resume as well. That way, the next time
    an HR rep asks for your qualifications, instead of handing them a piece of
    paper that describes your experience, you can have something tangible you can
    point or link to and say “I did that.”

Award-winning
professional speaker Scott Steinberg is a bestselling expert on leadership and
innovation, and the author of
Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to
Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty
. Among today’s leading providers of keynote speeches, workshops
and seminars for Fortune 500 firms
, his
website is www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com.