Top ten career tips from the last ten years

Smiling young African American businesswoman working on a laptop at her desk in a bright modern office with colleagues in the background

It is a decade since I started working with a career transition coach, left my corporate consulting job half way through and then later that year set up Inside Out Image, time has truly flown.

When I started that journey, I had no idea at all where my career would go and I certainly didn’t expect to set up a business.

The business I run today is different in many ways to the one I started. I feel so fortunate to enjoy my work so much.

Over the last decade, I have worked with hundreds of individual clients to help them with their career challenges and to improve their progression. I have spoken at hundreds of events to thousands of people, including at conferences and networking events, as well as run loads of workshops, masterclasses and seminars

The purpose of this article though is not my nostalgia, it is to help you focus on your career and improve from where you are at.

The pandemic has definitely put a hold on people working on their careers – survival and getting the day job done have been the points of focus.

I came up with the Nine Skills needed for career success a few years back. I still think they are highly relevant and important today – both for individuals to achieve what they want to in their careers and for companies and firms to develop their people in a well-rounded way. Most of the clients I work with are bright, technical and knowledgeable but have frequently not worked on their ‘people’ or, dare I say ‘soft’ skills.

Not doing so really holds people back so they don’t achieve what they want or could do. Fundamentally, we don’t work in isolation and it is often dealing with others that brings about both the challenges and the opportunities for our careers.

Let’s focus on the ten most common pieces of guidance I have given to clients over the last ten years – all of which fall within the nine skills:

  1. Visibility/exposure – Building this at work is key to career success. If people don’t know who you are, this will hold your career back. My article on PIE theory explains more.
  2. Immediate impact – The impact you have on someone the minute you encounter them is very important and can profoundly affect whether a relationship starts or where there is no option, the quality and positivity of it. This could be in an email, on LinkedIn, on the phone or in a meeting.
  3. Positive professional relationships – Once you have worked to build positive, trusted relationships, it makes difficult conversations and situations easier. It also makes day-to-day working more enjoyable.
  4. Get to know your team – If you manage a team, make time for getting to know them and to consider their development. Make sure they are an asset not a burden!
  5. ‘Office Politics’ – You can’t avoid it if you want to progress – you need to learn to navigate it. My guide will help you.
  6. Present engagingly and confidently – These skills will help you gain visibility and have impact in your role.
  7. Understand that people are different – Not everyone has the same assumptions and ways of working as you. In particular, get to know how your boss thinks and build the relationship, even if it feels challenging.
  8. Don’t avoid difficult conversations – By being willing to engage with challenging conversations you will improve relationships and avoid resentment building.
  9. Feedback – Ask for feedback regularly and act on it! This article on getting specific feedback may help you.
  10. It’s your career – Your career is primarily your responsibility – make time for it and have development areas to work on.

Not a single one of these is rocket science but so few professional people consider them all consistently. I work with people on all the nuances within these and many other aspects too. What do you need to be thinking about?

With the pandemic decreasing in severity, now is the time to get focused on your career. It’s vital not to lose more time. Top considerations:

  • What is next for you? Consolidation in your current role, a move up or laterally within your organisation or a new organisation?
  • What needs to happen for you to achieve that?
  • What are your current stumbling blocks?

To arrange a no obligation chat, find out more about my Career Progression Programme™, the group sessions I run for companies and firms or the speaking I do at virtual and in-person events, please contact me.

To think further about your career and the often neglected skills, click here to request my Nine Skills needed for career success. You get a PDF with a page on each skill.

About the author

Joanna GaudoinJoanna Gaudoin, Inside Out Image specialises in helping ambitious professionals and their organisations improve performance and achieve their goals.

She does this by helping them master and strategically use the business skills of Personal Impact and Relationship Management. These skills are required for professional success.

Before establishing Inside Out Image, Joanna worked in marketing and consultancy in large corporates. She understands the business world and its challenges. She now helps organisations and individuals understand how to succeed in it.

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