Career Guidance: How Professionals Earn Their Positions

Working your way up the career ladder can be challenging, but the rewards are often fulfilling. Getting to the top to enjoy a meaningful professional position depends on several factors. Some may be out of your reach, like working with an amiable and ethical group of employees. But other aspects of building a career can be managed by someone who takes the necessary steps to become an expert in his or her specialty area. Here are some things you can do to optimize your skills and attain a respected and lucrative professional position. 

Continue to Grow Professionally 
While in each position you hold, make the most of your opportunities to excel and grow. Enroll in professional development workshops and training sessions. Take online courses or seminars. Join groups where you can learn from others who hold the same or similar positions. As you learn new skills, your promotability expands, and you become a potential candidate for a wider range of positions. 

Career Coach 
Seek out a mentor or career coach from within the organization or at another company. Meet with this person periodically over lunch that you buy to benefit from the coach's insight, experience, and training. Bring questions to ask and scenarios to discuss, along with your goals for the next year or so. Be an active listener and take notes. A career coach can teach you more in a few sessions than you can sometimes learn over the course of a year or longer. 

Go the Distance 
Be accountable and follow ethical principles. Work late or on weekends if asked, as long as it does not interfere with other commitments. Fill in for an employee who is absent or on leave. Pick up the slack of unfinished work to help your team or department to meet its quota or deadlines. Being a visible team player who is dependable and conscientious while standing apart from other employees will help to attract positive notice and lead to strong evaluations with considerations for advancement. 

Look the Part 
Dress neatly and professionally for the job, perhaps even emulating those who are a pay grade or two above your position. A well-dressed, but not over-dressed, employee sends the message of caring enough to look his or her best while on the job. Attractiveness has been shown to influence others in professional settings. 

These simple techniques are things we should all do, but some don't. Stand out in admirable ways to be considered professional.

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