Seven proven career tips for business success

Ambitious working women are always looking for a competitive edge at work. In 2018, Catalyst reported that women represent 46.9% of the workforce and earn approximately 80% of what men make.

In order to reach your goals, you’ll need to work hard and use the right strategies and skills. By being proactive and employing proven strategies, you can take some of the guesswork out of how to get ahead, and increase your chances of building the career you’ve always wanted.

1) Make a good first impression

It’s certainly true that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. And it’s worth ensuring you get right; in business, making a good first impression can open doors to many exciting opportunities.

The Balance Careers reports that it is important to be professional in appearance and actions. You must show up on time, dress appropriately, and be ready for any meeting.

Always prepare in advance for first meetings with co-workers and your supervisors to set the tone for your relationship. Co-workers and mentors can play a significant role in how well you do in the business world. Helpful peers and supervisors are quick to help the people they like, and you definitely want to make the ‘favorites’ list.

2) Invest in yourself and never stop learning

Thanks to technology, things move fast in today’s working world, so it’s important to commit to ongoing training and education. You can sign up to study admin courses, any other helpful business training classes, or pursue an advanced degree to improve your ability to stand out in a crowded sea of peers.

Administrative, marketing, accounting and computer skills are always in demand in a workplace that relies heavily on computers and data. And you don’t have to spend a fortune on education – the HuffPost reminds prospective students that there are many options (including online education) available for anyone who is serious about getting a good education.

3) Build your professional network

Two or three decades ago, it was common for employees to stay with the same company for many years. And many people only had two or three employers during their entire career.

The workplace could not be more different today. And why networking has become an increasingly essential career strategy and skill. The more people you know professionally, the more future employment and business options you have for when you’re ready or need to make a change.

LiveCareer recommends establishing a strong network inside and outside of your employer’s walls. If you need a new job, you really don’t want to have to resort to sending out resumes to job boards. It’s much easier to find an exciting opportunity when you have a personal referral that leads directly to an interview.

4) Be willing to take calculated risks to advance your career

Anyone who wants to get ahead in the business world must be fearless. Forbes suggests employing a growth mindset where failure is considered invaluable as a learning opportunity.

That said, there’s a big difference between taking foolish risks and jumping in feet first into challenging new roles that will force you to stretch and grow in areas related to your goals. So make sure you evaluate any opportunities in terms of what you are likely to learn and who you are likely to meet, instead of focusing on difficulties.

5) Ask for help when you need it

One of the most difficult challenges that many people struggle with is asking for help. But we all need assistance sometimes. Being unwilling to get the help you need will impede your progress, so don’t be afraid of approaching people like mentors and peers when you need.

No one can be expected to know everything, or have all the skills and connections they need. Rising stars understand what they need, and identify people who can help them and befriend them.

6) Be persistent

There is no substitute for persistence. If you’re the type that gives up easily when things don’t go your way the first time, you’ll probably struggle in a competitive corporate environment.

Persistence, on the other hand, will be noticed and appreciated by your peers and superiors. So, when things get tough, you must be able to adapt. Given the importance of testing different ideas in a constantly changing business landscape, persistence is a survival skill that is worth mastering.

7) Stand your ground

If you deserve a raise or promotion, you need ask for it. Otherwise you may see less worthy colleagues out-earning or ranking you. This doesn’t mean you should be rude or demanding, but instead prepared to rationally make your case about why you deserve a raise or promotion.

Women for Hire reports that 41% of female workers feel underpaid. If you make your case and still aren’t paid fairly for your efforts, then it may be time to move on to another employer.

Photo by BBH Singapore