The Most Important Career Advice We Learned This Year
It takes a lot of effort, resilience, and determination to build a successful career. Whether you're venturing out on your own, are in the pursuit of a new job, or want to rise at the company you're currently working for, it's essential to know your worth, work extremely hard, and exude confidence. We've rounded up some of the most helpful career advice of the year to help you achieve your professional goals. Scroll through and learn what it takes to take control of your career.
If you don't learn to say "no," you'll give away all of yourself until there is nothing left. Don't feel guilty about saying no. Instead, feel confident that you know yourself well enough to know your limits. Also, pay attention to persuasive techniques. Oftentimes our employers or co-workers entice us to be yes people by cloaking large asks in pretty language. Remember to protect yourself from taking on too much. Understand that saying "no" is a means of self-preservation. And if you want to get ahead in this world, you have to keep yourself in fighting shape.
In order to be truly happy with your career, and your life for that matter, you need to define what success means to you. Otherwise you'll spend your years chasing someone else's version of success and never be truly happy. According to a recent study, 79% of men equate "having it all" with being in a loving marriage, compared to only 66% of women. Do children and marriage factor into your definition of success?
To quote confidence guru Jess Weiner, "Having confidence is a lot like filling your gas tank for your car. You can't fill your tank up once and then drive forever. You must continue to fill the tank." Make sure that you're constantly fueling your confidence tank by taking stock of your accomplishments, exercising, saying no, dressing for success, and maintaining a strong rapport with your boss.
After you've made it through the interview rounds and have been offered the job, don't take the first salary offer that's put on the table. There is usually a sliding scale and chances are your potential employer came in at the bottom. We've made the mistake of taking the first offer, so learn from our mistakes. Instead, highlight how passionate you are about the company, which will grab their attention, and be honest about how you want a salary that reflects the level of work you plan to put into the company. Also, ask about opportunities for growth considering how you really want to make an impact at your new place of work.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, the best leaders in the world are the best learners: “Reinvention and relevance in the 21st century draw on our ability to adjust our way of thinking, learning, doing, and being. Leaders must get comfortable with living in a state of continually becoming, a perpetual beta mode.” Successful leaders live in perpetual beta mode. They are always learning and are never satisfied with the status quo. If you want to have a competitive advantage, be curious and never think you know it all.
Virgin CEO Richard Branson believes if you're not failing, you're not moving forward. In a Google Hangout called "How to Turn Failure Into Success," Branson said "if you don't have failures, you're not trying hard enough." He goes on to talk about the importance of trying again as well. "If you clearly know what your failure was, and how you can avoid it the next time, I think it would be sad not to try again," he says.
There is no excuse not to work hard. Yes, success may require a fair bit of luck, but it's absolutely impossible without putting in long hours, blood, sweat, and tears. Just ask the founders of The Everygirl. They're honest about what it takes to take a company from zero to one. If you're passionate about what you're doing, the nonstop work won't be difficult—at least not as difficult as it sounds.
Shop our favorite career books and work bag accessories below.
What's your best career advice? Share with us in the comments.