The early years of your career can be tough. They can also be a time to seize opportunities—if you invest your time and energy in the right places.
Start off informed, and you’ll have an edge in the working world. If you’re aware of what you need to learn, and you couple that with an intelligent plan of attack, it’ll give you a serious head start on a successful career path.
And here I’ve always thought women had the advantage: In my experience, women take their professional lives more seriously from the very beginning, and they work harder to develop the technical skills of professional competency. And that means they can get a head start learning the specific secrets and strategies for professional success.
So what exactly are those secrets? There are three complementary skill sets that underscore every professional success story. Commit yourself to learning, growing, and developing these skills, and you’ll position yourself for a thriving career.
Transferable skills are the skills that allow you to do your job—any job, whatever it is—well. They travel with you from job to job and even cross the boundaries of career change. And because they allow you to be successful in any position and at any level, they’re the foundation of your career.
So, no matter what field you’re in, make an effort to excel in them. What are they? For starters, time management and organization, communication, problem solving, creativity, teamwork, and leadership.
Career Management Skills
In a world without job security, being able to manage the twists and turns of a 50-year work life is critical to your long-term career success. The bad news is that no one really teaches you these skills (or even tells you they exist or are important, for that matter!).
The good news is that, with understanding, you can change the trajectory of your professional future. Here are the four most important career management skills you should make sure you have:
Professional Connectivity Skills
When you make an effort to network with members of relevant online communities and professional associations, you’ll get to know and be known by the most committed and connected people in your field. Change will be a fact of life throughout your career, and having a vast network of contacts is critical to executing your career plan.
The people most likely to become mentors, offer valuable advice, job leads, and job offers are professionals who hold titles one, two, and three levels above your own. By building relationships with these people, you’re creating an ever-expanding social network that can help you grow professionally throughout your entire career.
In the professional world, a strong start will give you a lead, and a good lead is hard to catch. So kick the early years of your career off on the right foot—it’s one of the best windows of professional opportunity you’ll ever have. Grab it, and run with it.
Tell us! What is the most important thing you've done for your career?
Comment here or tell us on Facebook. The two readers with the best answers will win a copy of Martin Yate's new book, Knock 'em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide 2012.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Wesolowski.
Martin Yate, CPC, author of Knock 'em Dead: The Ultimate Job Search Guide 2012, is one of the foremost experts in the world of job search and career management. The author of Knock 'em Dead Resumes, Knock 'em Dead Cover Letters, Knock 'em Dead: Secrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World, and numerous other books, he has helped millions of people turn their careers and their lives around. For more job-hunting resources and advice, visit www.knockemdead.com and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.More from this Author