No one sets out to fail in a job, but it can happen if you don't take some time to establish good habits from your first day in a new position. Whether it's your first job or your fifth, there are ways to ensure that your career stays on track and you don't do things that annoy the boss and your colleagues. If you want to know how to succeed in your career, then you need to:
1. Be proactive
Don't sit in your cubicle or workstation and never emerge unless it's for a bathroom break or to leave for the day. Opportunities won't find you there – you need to get to know people in your department and throughout the organization. By looking for opportunities and connections to further your skills and help your company, you will keep moving forward no matter where you work.
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2. Be organized
There are a multitude of technology tools and apps to help you stay organized, but even the old-fashioned day planner can make a real difference in keeping your priorities straight and ensuring you meet deadlines. Choose an organizational method that is flexible enough to adapt to your boss's changing priorities and includes a follow-up system so tasks don't fall through the cracks.
3. Focus on goals
Funny memes, basketball brackets, and beer in the break room are just a few of the things that can distract you at work – not to mention the colleague who seems to be dumping unwanted tasks on you. Whether your workplace culture is casual or more buttoned-up, it's going to be up to you to make sure you don't get off task and distracted from meeting your goals. If necessary, have a list nearby of your boss's goals for you and some career development goals you have for yourself. A pro tip for learning how to succeed in your career: At the end of each day, consider what you've done that day to reach your goals. If you're missing the mark, you need to refocus and pay more attention to your objectives instead of funny cat videos.
There are a multitude of technology tools and apps to help you stay organized, but even the old-fashioned day planner can make a real difference in keeping your priorities straight and ensuring you meet deadlines.
4. Ask for feedback
Many bosses don't like to give feedback because they find it difficult to discuss the performance of an employee. They may be unsure how you will take it. Will you cry? Yell? Quit? If your boss isn't regularly meeting with you (and he/she should be), set up a time to talk and explain you want to ensure you're meeting expectations. When feedback is offered, pay attention and immediately try to incorporate it into your performance. If feedback is ongoing from your boss and your colleagues, you will have a better chance of correcting performance issues before they become a detriment to your career.
5. Toot your own horn
Don't expect anyone to post your great report on the office refrigerator like your mom did when you did really well in school. You can't expect others to know about your achievements if you don't share them – a company intranet or even LinkedIn can be a way to share career news or milestones. Be sure and give a shout-out to anyone who helped you or encouraged you so that you're seen as someone who acknowledges your success doesn't happen without others. If you're not sure how to show off your accomplishments, model yourself after someone who is well-respected and successful in your workplace – you can bet this person makes sure others knows of her achievements.
Figuring out how to succeed in your career takes planning, clear goals and the desire to continually learn new ways to make yourself indispensable to your boss and your colleagues. When you have a clear road map of what to do – and what not to do – you're much more likely to be successful, no matter where you work or what you do.