As a finance executive, I am constantly on the quest to seek out avenues to learn from the pros, showcase my skill set, foster an environment of advancement and camaraderie. Below are 5 ways on how to forge ahead in the workplace and get a jump-start on your career (in no particular order of priority and by no means an exhaustive list):
- Get a mentor: If there is key take-away from this post, this is it. Find someone (or people) you respect / wish to emulate and ask him/her to be your mentor. Preferably, this ‘mentor’ should not be someone who works in the same department as you e.g. your boss. This is a very good way of having a seasoned professional or executive pass on advice they have learned over the years in their professional careers that can prove very useful in shaping your career. Additionally, they can be a sounding board for your ideas and visions and help you figure out the best way to achieve your goals.
- Join professional organizations and attend professional networking events: If your profession has an association, join it and make an effort to participate actively in it. Attend networking events as these serve a dual purpose 1). It enables you keep abreast of latest developments in your field of study / work and 2). These are excellent places to make new contacts thus helping you expand your professional network.
- Uphold the highest standard of work ethic: Always do the right thing even when you feel underappreciated or have to put in extra time to get things done. In the final analysis, if you perform your job haphazardly (even when you think no one is watching), it will come back to bite you badly and you simply end up creating a bad reputation which will most definitely precede you. The world is a very small place. Strive to be known in the workplace as the person whose work can be relied upon. Strive to be a team player with a positive attitude and seek out ways to always be helpful to others.
- Go the extra mile in your education: For example, if you obtained a Bachelor’s in Accountancy, go the extra mile and get certified or chartered. A CPA (or equivalent e.g. ICAN, ACCA, ACA etc.) designation goes a long way in boosting your credentials as a subject matter expert. Furthermore, in the event of job hunting, it gives you an edge over other non-certified candidates. Most professions these days come with certification of some sort i.e. the CFA designation for finance professionals, CISA designation for internal systems auditor, PE designation for engineers, CIMA designation for management accountants, ABP designation for pediatricians, ABFM designation for family medicine doctors; the list goes on.
- Get a quality MBA: An MBA degree can definitely boost your career but it has to be well thought out. Click here for an earlier blog post on getting an MBA.
I hope the above provides some useful tips on ways to advance in your career. What other ways have you employed to boost your career? I would love to read comments from you.