Most people decide what they want to do as a career early in life. Some begin as young as 5 or 6 years old, while other find their passion during their college years. The idea of a career is a job that you choose to do for a long number of years. Today, having dual careers or several careers over a lifetime is becoming more of the norm than sticking with one career until retirement.
The idea of success in a career is often measured by the title of a person’s position, the amount of money made, or the amount of influence wielded in a particular field. In almost all cases, success is part political, meaning that the old adage, “It’s not what you know but who you know” still holds true. It can be said that who you know will always be a measurement of success.
One way to jumpstart a successful career path is a verifiable education. The type of education needed depends on the field of work you choose. Many people pursue the traditional college route, which enhances the resume. Others opt for technical school which prepares them for the hands-on types of work. A few who pursue starting their own business likely have an apprenticeship type of education, where an idea is processed and becomes reality. Regardless of where education is obtained, it presents itself as a necessary primer for success.
The political aspect of success was mentioned, and in today’s euphemized world the reality is called networking. But be selective about who you add to your network because each person added will require time to communicate with if they are to have any long term value. It is about knowing the right people, not just a number of people. Be sure to reciprocate the help offered. Position yourself to make yourself available to those who are able to help you the most. Many people will want your time to help them be successful – the question to be asked is how your time is being reciprocated. This may sound harsh to some, but experience will show it is the proper course of action.
Continue to Learn
Most careers require you to continue your education in your field through online classes, training seminars, or other methods to add to your knowledge base. For a career person, this should be a voluntary action, even if the company does not reimburse you for the cost. In the current information age knowledge grows so quickly with changes to procedures being made monthly, falling behind is a guaranteed career stopper.
Become Organizationally Active
Finally, becoming a member of a professional organization and being an active member combines the best of two worlds. Keeping current with your profession and networking are mutually beneficial actions possible as a member of an organization. An Internet search will show the results of an organization you can join, often for a low annual membership fee. If you are currently in school, many organizations have student rates which are usually about one half of the regular membership fee.
There are two common themes that run through these tips for success. One is education, the other is knowing the right people. What needs to be said at the end here is that both of these themes require a long term commitment to realize long term success. While many students graduate from college, too many stop their education after leaving college. With networking, many people start their networks with people they work with, yet fail to nurture and maintain those relationships after moving on. The key is to be consistent and grow from the beginning of your career to its end.