All the rules have changed in 2020 for recruiters, hiring companies and for job seekers. COVID-19 has given us all time to pause, reflect and take a more strategic approach to career and life ahead.
Despite all the disruption the most successful executives are quietly going about consolidating their careers leveraging time-tested principles knowing that the current circumstance is only one more tough challenge in a long road to success.
Here are 10 principles I identified for career success via interviews with 46 great business leaders from across the world for my most recent book “How to get, grow and succeed in your Dream Job” (HORP). I hope these are useful to you during this time of introspection.
1. Be self-aware. Know what matters most to you
Take responsibility for your own success. Begin with the end in mind and be clear about your career objective. It’s difficult to think about what you would like your career to be like 20 years later, but it’s very possible to think about a couple of years out. If you know who you are and are clear about what you want to achieve, it becomes easier to make choices that define your future. What is it you truly want? What matters most to you? What is your measure of success?
2. Understand the career landscape. Where do you fit?
How is the career landscape evolving? How is your business doing? How is your industry doing?. How will the near term be impacted? Be aware of the career environment, the politics, and the unspoken rules of the industry you are working in. Where do YOU fit best and become most attractive to your current employer or a potential employer? What is your USP?
3. Set goals. Then work a plan to get there
An ounce of action is worth a pound of intent. Know that if you want to get the career you desire, you will need to have a plan to get there. Focus on being the kind of executive that Companies want to hire. Lay out a path to your goal, the help you need along the way, the experiences that will keep you going in the right direction and milestones to measure progress. Then take the first few steps. Start.
4. Brand YOU, Build an authentic personal brand
Leave a positive impression every time you interact with others. Be a person of solutions, not just someone stating the obvious problem. Your personal brand equity is the reflection of how people talk about you particularly when they aren’t being asked for an opinion. Keeping things simple and real will help you build trust and support from your stakeholders.
5. Build a diverse set of skills and experiences leading up to where you want to be
Building a successful long term career often means being open and flexible and making sacrifices and taking risks. Be open to opportunities and don’t hesitate to move to a new location or take up a new assignment which would give you a new experience that adds value to your long term journey. This willingness will help you get opportunities and experiences which are key to growing as a leader.
6. Follow great leaders. Leverage great mentors.
Choose roles working for strong but empowering leaders. Leaders who are looking for real talent to join their teams for the good of the business, and are willing to trust you to lead. Most often these leaders’ track records will precede them – you will know them from the strength of the talent they have nurtured over the years. In my first role in the 90’s I “chose” to work in a role that was tough to sustain financially but amazing from a learning perspective. I “chose” a leader and worked for him for the princely sum of Rs 800 (approx 11 USD today) per month take home salary for close to three years. He was one of the finest mentors and teachers I have ever had. He transferred knowledge and a strong work ethic to me that still inspires and enables me today.
7. Never stop learning.
Be actively curious about everything. Find opportunities to apply what you know. Generously share your learnings and knowledge. One of the biggest myths of all is the myth of having just one mentor. Have many. Have a wellness mentor. Have a tech mentor. Have a speaking mentor. Learn voraciously from everyone around you.
8. Keep your promises.
Keep your promises. Build credibility. Ultimately its far more important what people say about you when you are not in the room as opposed to when you are. Be dependable.
9. Network. Offer your network some value that YOU can offer.
Network. Reach out. Stay in touch. This is a critical component in ensuring your name comes up when important roles are discussed. Network with the mindset of what value you can offer the person you are connecting with versus what you want from that person. All of us naturally tend to recommend and remember leaders we know and who we believe are useful.
10. Be kind. And enjoy the journey.
There is a ton of pain in the world. We are all only human. Make things better for someone. An act of generosity, a word of kindness. Be kind. Enjoy your career journey. Make time for your family. Go back to Principle 1 and remind yourself of what matters most to you.
Have a great week ahead. Stay safe and purposeful. Be kind.
Anthony is the Chairman and CEO of House of Rose Professional Pte. Ltd, Author, recruiter, diversity expert, Influencer Marketer expert are all roles he juggles. Anthony is author of a few best-selling books. His most recent books are “How to get, grow and succeed in your Dream Job”, “Break the ceiling touch the sky: success secrets of the world’s most inspirational women” Daddy’s Logic: Live a life of no limits, no excuses, no regrets”. 100% of the royalties from the sale of Daddy’s logic and Break the ceiling are donated to charity. Anthony invested the first 25 years of his career in roles with Companies including Walmart, Procter & Gamble and GSK.