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10 ways to carve out a successful career

Research shows that your IQ or professional ability has little to do with why some people are more successful in their careers than others. So, if intelligence and competence has nothing to do with it, how do you ensure you develop a stellar career?

1. Take responsibility If you want a more successful and fulfilling career be proactive in seeking new opportunities. Don’t wait until you are fired, burned out or fed up to make the change. Manage you career on an on-going basis by continuing to develop your skills and maintaining your professional network, particularly through the good times.

2. Every conversation is an opportunity It is human nature to judge the people you talk to and you never know how influential the people you meet on a daily basis can be in your career. Avoid burning bridges and really take time to focus on the other person in conversation; there is a reason why you have two ears and one mouth.

3. Focus on your strengths This should be obvious but it’s often forgotten. No one can be good at everything and we all have weaknesses. Aspire to be great at what you do and to continually develop key areas where you are lacking confidence that are essential to your role.

4. Never let your shortcomings define you Know your weaknesses but never let them affect your ability to perform. Be proactive in seeking additional training to ensure you have a well-rounded skill set and do not fall behind market demand in your field.

5. Be self-aware Be aware of how often you use the word “I” and ensure that your voice is not continuously drowning out others.

6. Under promise, over deliver This is a popular business ethos and is an effective method of managing expectations. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Even if you know you can complete something better or more quickly, under promise to ensure the requirements are met but deliver above those to ensure you consistently exceed expectations.

7. Network Keep in contact with old colleagues and regularly make an effort to meet new professionals in your industry. Although it might be tempting to reject LinkedIn requests from recruitment consultants, they will always come in handy when you’re seeking a new role.

8. Be ambitions and prepared Avoid being too aggressive in your workplace but be decisive and proactive. Always prepare for a meeting and submit your opinions and ideas to showcase your ability and initiative.

9. Maintain momentum Most people with highly successful careers are consistently driven and proactive in ensuring they develop the right skills and network to match their career goals.

10. Seek advice Find a mentor, preferably outside of your organisation so they remain objective, who knows your professional capabilities and personal style and has experience either in your chosen field or the wider business world that you can draw upon. Use your mentor for career advice, brainstorming, training and to openly express your doubts and fears.

No one is going to manage your career for you so, step up and ensure you are giving yourself the best chance at success