There is a great deal to learn when it comes to pursuing and excelling in your career. Whether you are employed in your lifelong career or just starting on your career path, it can be helpful to read and listen to career advice. Helpful career advice can be used right away, inspire you to do something else or be kept in the back of your mind for another day when you truly need it.
In this article, we provide you with the 30 best pieces of career advice to motivate and inspire you to do your best and be your best in the workplace and beyond.
30 best pieces of career advice no one ever told you
As you continue developing in your career, you will probably come into contact with many pieces of career advice. It is helpful to think of career advice like feedback. You can read some pieces of advice and confirm what you do well and what you should continue to develop. Here are our best pieces of career advice no one ever told you:
- Venture outside of your comfort zone.
- View every person you meet as a door that may lead you to a new opportunity.
- Show up early.
- Think of yourself as a lifelong learner.
- Every year, deeply consider your career path.
- Search for the value in feedback or criticism.
- Cultivate perseverance.
- Do what you say you'll do.
- Ask the important questions.
- Don't be afraid to speak up.
- Dress for the job you want.
- Find a job you enjoy.
- Say yes to the things that scare you.
- Set realistic goals.
- Let go of perfection.
- Remember that a job doesn't give your life meaning.
- Every job will have unexpected inconveniences.
- There is opportunity in chaos.
- Find a mentor, and be a mentor.
- Work harder than those around you.
- If you need help, ask for it.
- Use your strengths.
- Be willing to sacrifice some things to build the career you want.
- Live your life, not someone else's.
- Follow your effort.
- Don't settle.
- Be confident, yet humble.
- Embrace failure.
- Use your intuition.
- Be a team player.
1. Venture outside of your comfort zone
When you try new things, you prepare yourself for your next role. You may consider taking on new and difficult tasks that you aren't comfortable with to expand your skill set.
2. View every person you meet as a door that may lead you to a new opportunity
You never know how a person can add to your life professionally or personally if you don't give them a chance. Your job may be a for-now job, but that doesn't mean that the connections you make with the people there won't be forever. It is best to view each person as valuable and worthy of your time and consideration.
3. Show up early
Even if you become jaded in your position at your job, do your best to show up early and ready to complete your assigned tasks. Each job you will have is important for building your career and character. Employers will appreciate and notice your effort, and you will continue to stay on good terms if you display your eagerness to work by showing up early.
4. Think of yourself as a lifelong learner
You can continue to learn no matter what stage of your career you are in. When you learn continuously, you can gain more skills and become flexible and adaptable in your career path. Possessing a willingness to learn is an attribute that is highly valued in today's workforce.
5. Every year or so, deeply consider your career path
About once a year, you should go out and refresh your network, check out new opportunities and conduct salary comparisons. It is easier to make strategic career decisions when you have real data to compare to the benefits of your current job. It is important to know where you stand in your industry. You may also consider sharpening your knowledge of new industry trends each year to remain competitive in the job market if you should ever choose to or need to leave your current workplace.
6. Search for the value in feedback or criticism
Each piece of feedback you receive can be used to help you grow and further develop in your career. Try not to focus on the method of delivery or the person providing you with the feedback. Instead, you should do your best to avoid getting upset and take the value out of the message you are receiving and move on.
7. Cultivate perseverance
You may not enter a job and become a top performer right away. It is important that you continue to persevere and develop so that you can reach your career goals and become a top performer. For instance, if you are a writer and an editor continuously rejects the pitches you give for your article ideas, you may try refining and developing your ideas and re-pitch them to the same editor or a different editor.
8. Do what you say you'll do
It is essential that you match your words with your actions. Employers appreciate employees they can trust and depend on. If you tell your leader you can finish a project by a certain date, then you should take the necessary steps to finish the project accordingly. Relationships are essential to any business, and without trust, a relationship cannot be cultivated. Once you become accountable, you will notice that you attract those who you can also count on.
9. Ask the important questions
Many successful professionals have become successful because they ask important questions. You should maintain a curious disposition and ask questions. Asking questions will build your knowledge and contribute to your learning process and development. You may also consider asking questions about things that are not directly related to your job title if you think it could help you gain a better understanding of your organization as a whole.
10. Don't be afraid to speak up
Meetings are meant for employees to share their thoughts and ideas on important topics that affect the business. If you have an idea or if you have a reason to believe an idea shouldn't be implemented, then you should mention it in a professional way with accurate data to back up your claims. You may also request a face-to-face meeting with a supervisor if you need to discuss a sensitive matter or ask for advice. When you participate and speak up, employers will notice that you care about your job and take it seriously.
11. Dress for the job you want
Dressing for the job you want goes beyond the clothes you choose to wear. It includes the way you present yourself overall, such as your attitude, the way you address people at work and how you adorn yourself physically. These items will reflect how important your job is to you.
12. Find a job you enjoy
When you enjoy the work you're doing and the people you work with, you'll find that time passes effortlessly. It may take a while to find a job that is a good fit for you, but it is worth the search. Once you find a job that you enjoy, you will be willing to contribute more and work will likely feel less burdensome.
Related: How to Find The Best Jobs For You
13. Say yes to the things that scare you
Opportunities do not come along as often as you may think. If you are afraid of an opportunity, it may be a good idea to try it at the very least. This will help you build confidence, and most often you will find that you can do the things you think you cannot do.
14. Set realistic goals
Setting goals will help to keep you motivated throughout your career. You should set periodic goals that are achievable and reward yourself when you do meet the goals you set.
15. Let go of perfection
Once you give up on trying to be perfect, you allow yourself the opportunity to be good.
16. Remember that a job doesn't give your life meaning
A job that you enjoy can contribute to giving your life meaning, but it is not the only thing in life you can draw meaning and inspiration from. You have to decide what is important to you and build a full life that contributes to meaning. Meaning can be many things to many people, it depends on how you choose to define it.
17. Every job will have unexpected inconveniences
All jobs have minor to major inconveniences that may cause you some frustration. Try not to give up, and begin to view these unexpected inconveniences as temporary as you continue to do your best at your job despite these inconveniences.
18. There is opportunity in chaos
Many of your major career opportunities will come from moments where you were able to make a difference. The best way to make a difference may come from stepping into a position that requires you to clean up the chaos. This will likely bring attention to your skills and expertise.
19. Find a mentor, and be a mentor
Having a mentor and being a mentor can give you valuable insight and help increase your visibility in the industry. It will likely help you along your career path if you ask your mentor to introduce you to individuals that are currently working in the industry you are interested in. When you begin to mentor, you can introduce your mentee to others.
20. Work harder than those around you
Good work ethic commands respect. This doesn't necessarily suggest that you should be the first one at work in the morning or the last one to leave work at night. However, you should cultivate habits that can contribute to your performance and put in more time and effort than those around you. Doing so will show your dedication and result in respect from your peers and leaders.
21. If you need help, ask for it
There will likely be certain tasks or projects you must complete at your workplace that you may not understand. It is best to ask questions to clarify, rather than make unnecessary mistakes. This way you save time and ensure that you can complete the task or project successfully the first time.
22. Use your strengths
By putting your focus on those things that you are strongest at, over time you will become an expert at it. By outsourcing your weaknesses to others who excel in those areas, you'll be able to cover those weaknesses better than you could have otherwise. Trying to be great at everything could be spreading yourself thin and keeping you from reaching your full potential in your strongest areas.
23. Be willing to sacrifice some things to build the career you want
You may have to sacrifice time and money to build the career you want. This may include taking extra classes, pursuing internships and other things. It will not always be easy to choose work over fun, but it is worth the effort to obtain the career of your choice.
24. Live your life, not someone else's
Stay true to yourself and to what you want and need. Your path will not be the same as someone else's, and that's fine. While it is good to have role models to help shape you, you should continue to focus on what makes you unique. This will make you more memorable and distinguish you from your peers.
25. Follow your effort
Your passions may not always be the things you choose to put your time and effort into. Not everything is worth putting effort into. The best way to find your passion and success in life is to follow your effort.
26. Don't settle
It is never too late to pursue the career path you want. You can have a job that you want and that motivates you. Do not settle for less than what you want or deserve. Persistence will lead you to the opportunities you have been eagerly pursuing.
27. Be confident, yet humble
Confidence can lead to productivity at work. It is important to develop your confidence to effectively communicate your ideas in the workplace. Remain humble, and always accept that you will not always be the one who knows the most.
28. Embrace failure
Failure can help you figure out ways that don't work. It can also help you to move forward and learn from your experiences. Failure is just as valuable if not more valuable than success. Continue to be willing to start over or move on if something doesn't work out.
29. Use your intuition
Your gut or intuition often has the answer. Try listening to it to guide your decisions. If something feels right, like changing jobs, making a career transition or finding a new circle of friends, trust it. Use it as a foundation that you can always rely on in moments of doubt.
30. Be a team player
Working with a team and collaborating with other employees is a central part of most jobs. Do your best to work with the team instead of against the team. Many great things can be accomplished by working well with your teammates and often it is essential for the success of a business.
Related: Tips For Effective Teamwork