Navigating a successful professional path is extremely challenging. When it comes to overall career goals, most people tend to look upwards to positions in senior level management with higher salaries and greater responsibilities for guidance and inspiration. While there isn’t always a sure-fire path to success, many prominent business leaders, CEOs, and other senior executives, past and present, have been open and vocal about what they believe is the best career advice out there for those looking to climb the corporate ladder to greater heights.
A consistent piece of sage advice successful employers share is the willingness to take professional risks. Oftentimes, major professional opportunities can come either at unexpected moments or in a form that may not necessarily look like an overtly smart career move. Having the courage to take a chance on something that feels right to you could open the door to something bigger and better than what you originally imagined. Career opportunities may not be obvious at the onset, but making a move, even if it may seem like a sideways move, will bring you closer to the top than not taking any action at all.
Top employers also advise employees to take advantage of all the available opportunities to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills and a willingness to take on challenges at the workplace. This can be achieved by volunteering to spearhead new projects or lead subcommittees within your department. By making an impact and showing your capabilities early on, it will help those in upper management see your potential and eagerness for growth into leadership positions. The next time a great role becomes available, you will have already established your potential for the job.
Networks are a vital part of business and learning how to effectively network and utilize that network will be an immense asset to career building. No matter what your industry or job function, people control opportunities. People are the ones who will shape the type of employee you are, the type of manager who you will become, and how your career will evolve. Increase your network by connecting with the type of people you admire and respect then leverage your network to increase the number of opportunities that come your way. Not every chance will be the right one for your career goals, but the exposure can help increase your likelihood of finding the best options to advance your career.
Passion is another key component to having a long and successful career. Building a profession out of something that you care and feel strongly about is often the top indicator of success for working professionals. Money and earning a good living to support yourself and your family is, of course, a healthy consideration and one that cannot be easily ignored, but finding work and carving a career out of something you truly feel excited about will allow you to build a strong career and make it all the more rewarding and satisfying. Never underestimate the benefits of having a career that makes you happy doing something you love.
Managing your own career is a lifelong process. Career goals will undoubtedly evolve as you make your way deeper into a satisfying career. During all stages of your career, strive to do your best work, learn and grow professionally, and be willing to try new roles. The challenges in attaining your ideal career is within reach, so long as you are willing to put in the necessary effort and push yourself to put your best self forward at all times.