The job market is more competitive than ever, and people are taking all sorts of steps to strengthen their position and employability, from Masters Degrees to volunteer work.
Here, Specialist Orthodontist and entrepreneur Anthony Lam of Elleven Dental provides a few top tips to consider when looking to advance your career.
Know What You Want
It may seem obvious, but a surprising number of people know they want to succeed at something, but they don’t know what. Having a crystal clear idea of what exactly you are chasing will not only help you reach it, but keep you motivated and keep you from giving up. If you are thinking of taking your career down a new route, give it plenty of thought, and consider what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Any skills that fall under both these headings are good bets. A solid plan is key to reaching your goals.
Find a Mentor
You may already have industry figureheads in mind who you feel could provide you with valuable advice. If not, have a look around – search for leading figures in the industry you are looking to become part of, and see who appeals to you. Reach out to them and ask if they might have any tips or contacts for someone looking to advance in this particular line of work. Mentors don’t have to be big names – a manager or colleague you already know or have worked with may have everything you need in a mentor. A good rapport with a prospective mentor is essential for a worthwhile relationship.
In an era when relevant experience is often valued more than qualification, it is important to keep yourself busy with activities that relate to your career goals. If you want to break into the medical industry, volunteer at hospices or surgeries; if you are hoping to be noticed for your journalistic skills, make sure you write on a wide range of subjects frequently. Prospective employers want to see that you are committed to your career path, and it has to be more than a 9-5 gig for you if they are going to get the impression of dedication to a goal.
Join a Professional Body
Not only does membership of professional bodies look good on your CV or business card, but it provides you with many great opportunities to network, which is an absolutely pivotal move for any career-oriented person. Talks and seminars relevant to your industry will allow you to keep up to date with recent developments, and to meet people who may be able to link you to others or act as a mentor to you (see above). The wider your business network, the more opportunities you open yourself up to – it’s basic arithmetic.
Scrub Up Well
There’s no need for a Hollywood makeover, but as unpopular an idea as it is, employers do attach importance to the physical appearance of their staff. If you are interviewing for a new workplace, take a drive past the building and see what people are wearing and use it as a guide to your own interview outfit. Putting effort into your personal appearance tells prospective employers and colleagues that you care about the impression you give to others, and take pride in that impression. Along with well-maintained clothes, neat and clean hair and nails are easily achieved, but making sure your teeth look the part can take a bit more effort. If you suffer from unsightly teeth it can be well worth making a trip to your dentist to see what improvements can be made – whether simply a whitening solution, implants, or braces to realign protruding or crooked teeth.
These may seem like big steps, but a healthier-looking smile can drastically improve prospective employers first opinions of you, and can help improve your confidence overall. Regular hygiene checks and periodontal treatments, which improve the health of gums and roots of the teeth, are also recommended and can solve persistent bad breath, and there are also benefits of restorative dentistry to transform unhealthy teeth and replace damaged crowns or old metal fillings.
It makes sense to ensure that every facet of your presence is giving the right message.
About the author, Anthony Lam:
Anthony is an internationally recognised Specialist Orthodontist. He is a clinical teacher in Orthodontics at Guy’s Hospital, London, and a member of a number of local and international Orthodontic Societies.
He qualified as a dentist at the University of Melbourne and then gained an MSc in Orthodontics at the University of London. He was awarded the Professor Philip Walther Prize for outstanding performance as part of his MSc and obtained membership of The Royal College of Surgeons upon qualification. Since then, he has worked in private orthodontic practice in the South East region.