In the competitive world of business, staying ahead of the curve is a full-time job on top of a full-time job. Business gets a lot of flak for being a less artsy, purely practical career choice, but the reality of the matter is that business requires a lot more creativity and consistent evolution than most outsiders would realize. Advancement is an everyday goal, which is part of what makes business so exciting and dynamic for those involved in this field. Since the concept of advancement is so central to business success, the following list will detail four effective ways to excel with a career in business.
1. Add to Professional Credentials
It’s no secret that education is highly correlated with professional success. Although there may be a few outlier cases (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.), this rule applies to the majority of working professionals. With the advancement of modern technology and the growing availability of online institutions of higher education, busy schedules are no longer inhibiting to professional advancement. Earning a business management degree is one effective way to develop a better understanding of the way the company works, while contributing to a more appealing resume.
2. Have a Strong Mentor
Plato mentored Aristotle, Aristotle mentored Alexander the Great and the list goes on. Although there is an often repeated axiom that leaders are born and not made, the greatest leaders in history very often had a clear, identifiable influence that catalyzed their success. Finding a mentor is as easy as asking the star of the company out for coffee or joining professional organizations relevant to the industry. Seminars and textbooks can be great for professional development, but they often pale in comparison to the benefits from one-on-one, personalized mentoring sessions.
3. Be Active
Many professionals expect their employers to just assume that they are fit for a higher position within the company, even though they don’t ever attempt to excel above and beyond their current responsibilities. Meeting just the bare minimum won’t cut it for advancement and won’t capture the attention of employers. Instead of idly and lazily completing daily tasks, be active in office meetings and assignments. Show enthusiasm for work and try solving problems and submitting new ideas to show a strong work ethic and exceptional talent that deserves promotion.
4. Work with the Team
Taking on responsibilities individually is not only less effective, but dismissive of a great opportunity to acquire advice from other members of the team and apply collective problem-solving skills. The social aspect of working with the team can also be conducive to productivity. In fact, a poll by Robert Half International revealed that forty-percent of workers saw increases in productivity when they had a chance to bond with other employees via water cooler conversations and other social interactions.
It may seem like common sense, but advancement can only truly be achieved when professionals are willing to get out of their comfort zones and try something that may seem too difficult or out of reach. Although this sounds obvious, there is also a natural tendency to feel entitled to promotions, awards and other forms of professional recognition. Applying the four steps above in the professional world might be tough, but the sacrifice is a necessary step toward greater success.