50 Tips to Cultivate Your Career and Enrich Your Life
“Ask 50 colleagues and mentors what advice they would give to students getting ready to start their careers, and you’ll get 50 different answers. That’s what I did. Here’s what I know.” — Barbara W. Thompson, President, The Roberts Group
1. Always be proactive.
2. Prioritize; break tasks into ABC priority levels and work on the A’s first.
3. Always be loyal to your boss, in public and private.
4. Be an assertive communicator. Be clear with expectations.
5. Learn to write well.
6. Avoid asking questions that start with “why,” “who” or “when.” This leads to blaming others instead of taking a proactive approach.
7. Ask questions that start with “what” or “how,” such as, “What can I do to make this better?” or “How can this improve?”
8. Own your own thoughts, feelings and actions.
9. Take FULL responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, actions and life.
10. Delegate when possible, but remember you can’t delegate responsibility.
11. Attack problems; waiting makes the consequences worse.
12. Always surround yourself with resources, such as books, recordings, peers, the Internet, friends, etc.
13. Be involved in self-improvement every day of your life. Read, exercise, reflect and take time for yourself.
14. Come out of your comfort zone or you will never improve.
15. Never become satisfied with your current level of knowledge.
16. Continued success is the result of continued improvement.
17. Live in the present – walk away from your past but carry the lessons you’ve learned from it.
18. A person’s weaknesses can often be that person’s strengths used excessively or inappropriately.
19. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.
20. Always carry a calendar/day planner and a writing instrument.
21. Set goals for yourself, write them down, and update them at least once a year.
22. In an interview, sell your skills and be prepared to demonstrate your accomplishments.
23. Learn how to negotiate.
24. If you don’t already have one, ask for a detailed job description.
25. Find a mentor.
26. Study what successful people do.
27. Always give credit where credit is due.
28. Always present a problem with a solution.
29. Don’t pretend to know things you don’t; ask for help.
30. Don’t make enemies; if you must disagree, do it gracefully.
31. Read critically, including articles and publications that don’t relate to your industry; don’t take everything you read at face value.
32. Check your ego at the door; be proud of your accomplishments, but don’t let your ego prevent a positive flow of ideas from the rest of your team.
33. There is no such thing as a stupid question; there are stupid ways to ask questions, but no stupid questions.
34. Well-chosen humor kills a thousand office evils. Keep it within reason, but be a source of fun for your colleagues.
35. Be positive; don’t complain. Negative people sap positive energy away from others.
36. Take responsibility for your own growth; if you’re capable of doing more than what you are normally assigned, then prove it by doing it.
37. Be a leader, no matter what your job title.
38. Always introduce people in a manner that makes everyone comfortable.
39. Always write a note or letter to acknowledge a gift or favor.
40. Keep promises, obligations and appointments.
41. Return phone calls within 24 hours or ask for assistance in doing so.
42. Avoid procrastination.
43. Don’t engage in office gossip; attempt to stop rumors.
44. Ask for advice, use it, and then thank your boss.
45. Do more than your share of work.
46. Be flexible; stay late or start early when necessary, and be willing to work odd shifts.
47. Rehearse and script difficult conversations so you aren’t left speechless.
48. Plan to stay on the job for a long time; don’t look at it as a steppingstone.
49. Live every day to the fullest and appreciate those around you.
50. Don’t get caught up in titles – you are what you do, not what you’re called.