I’m both fascinated and intimidated by career success and how different people get their big break or simply reach a turning point that ultimately sends them spiraling in the direction of their dreams.
Every story is different. What worked for one person may not work for another, and there’s no big, groundbreaking secret to obtaining career clarity and success.
Given my latest crossroads and bout of anxiety-fueled uncertainty in the career area of my life, I thought it’d be fun and inspiring to reach out to people just like me and get their input on achieving some semblance of success and happiness when it comes to job hunting, building a career, being content with their work, and actually being able to pay at least most of the bills.
“What’s the best career advice you’ve ever gotten or have to give?” I asked. And they answered.
1. “Know more about the company than they know about you. I always try to research and understand the product line or whatever before an interview. And READ! Never stop learning, even after school is done. An hour or two of reading each day will make you a legitimate expert in any field within 7 years.” — Daniel, 29
2. “Lie or boast about yourself in the areas where you’ll best fit the job description.” — Lien, 23
3. “From a decade of being in the work world, I can tell you this: be where the people are. You won’t find too many opportunities from your basement on a Saturday night. Be approachable, but not too approachable, because if you’re always around, then people will think you’re not actually busy doing real work. When giving feedback on something that’s wrong, you do it in three sections: a positive, the negative, and another positive. When something goes wrong, you panic on the inside and sort it out before anyone notices. Finally, be cautious of advice on matters of making money from people who don’t have any. These people are literally everywhere.” — Bob, 33
4. “You can do anything, but you cannot do everything. Remember that.” — Keltie, 34
5. “Dreams don’t work if you don’t! If you have a goal you desperately want to hit, then work hard and learn to juggle everything else until you can make it. Also, having a strong back-up plan should always be a must, even if it isn’t the most desirable plan. At the end of the day, you still have to pay those bills!” — Tyler, 27
6. “Someone told me that prioritization – figuring out which tasks will really move the needle the most – would be key. Out of all the tasks you have right now, what is the one that will bring back the most? That’s what you do next. Also, resilience is key. Even if you hear a ‘no’, know that it’s just a ‘not right now.’” — Tiffany, 29
7. “Take care of yourself, and try not to get burned out. You’re always going to have to work, but as much as you need the money, your health is important too. So you have to balance yourself.” — Hannah, 27
8. “Don’t do what you love. Do what is useful for people in general. Because once you make your mistress your wife, you have to search for another mistress.” — Sharath, 21
9. “I would say patience and persistence is key. Try to network as much as you can and have meetings with mentors. When it comes to networking, I always recommend asking each person you meet with if they know of 1-2 other people you should meet with. This helps in continuing to build your network. Always send thank you notes to your mentors via email. Or if you feel like going the extra mile, send a card.” — Bethany, 31
10. “All you need is enough. Strive for that. The rest is extra, so be smart with it. Also, lead by example and give people someone they respect.” — Rachel, 31
11. “Success is so subjective and based on perception, but I digress. I said ‘yes’ to as much as I could and listened to absolutely everything people had to say. Even if I didn’t like it, I listened. Even if I didn’t agree with it, I listened. Even if I thought I knew best, I still listened. I absorbed as much as I could and took advantage of every opportunity I even saw the chance at getting. I also think everyone needs to keep in mind that they aren’t owed anything. While it’s great to ask for advice and even better when you’re able to give it, no one owes you any information. You have to make things happen.” — Kendra, 26