Have you ever felt that, in this era, we are drowning in information and starving for wisdom? The answer to almost any question you can imagine is at your fingertips. A simple Google search can yield hundreds, thousands or even millions of answers to any question you can think of. With so much information available it can be overwhelming; however, knowing which advice to follow is the key to cultivating a successful career. As a professional recruiter, I want to help you avoid waking up one day to realize you failed to reach your full potential. Here are my top five tips to help grow your career.

Read! Read! Read!

Many adults after they graduate high school or college never pick up another book again. The most successful people in the world all have one thing in common… they read a lot.

In a recent interview, Bill Gates explained how he reads for at least one hour every day, or roughly one book a week. It has been reported that Warren Buffet spends five to six hours a day reading five different newspapers. And, Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban reads up to three hours a day to learn about the industries he works in. These and many other successful people cite reading as a factor in their success. In fact, a study of 1,200 wealthy people found that they all self-educate by reading.

You may not have several hours a day to devote to reading, but we all can make time for 15 minutes. Reading is the easiest and most inexpensive way to make lifelong learning part of your daily routine. In addition to paving the way for a successful career, reading has been shown to increase focus and concentration, reduce stress, prevent dementia and develop stronger analytical skills. And last but certainly not least, reading has been shown to increase overall life satisfaction.

Network with Everyone

No matter what you dream of doing in this life, it will be a lot easier to turn those dreams into reality with a little help. Whether you want to start your own business, build a non-profit or work for a fortune 500 company, knowing the right people will help you get there. Therefore, it is important to master the art of networking and learn to build meaningful relationships.

Need more convincing? Most career experts agree that successful people are very well connected. According to LinkedIn:

  • 80% percent of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success.
  • 70% of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection.
  • 35% of surveyed professionals say that a casual conversation on LinkedIn Messaging has led to a new opportunity.

In addition, networking can help improve your soft skills, increase your visibility and possibly open the door to new opportunities.

Be a Person of Good Character

Our character is who we are and what we do. Whether you are in a leadership position or not, it’s important to be a person of good character. That means that you always choose to be honest, fair, compassionate, loyal, and respectful. Famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said: “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” Good character is essential for a successful career. It holds you accountable to yourself and to those around you. It shows your colleagues and management that you are trustworthy and dependable.

Leverage the Power of Positivity

Everyone knows that one person who comes to work and is always complaining. Even when you provide a solution, they will still find a problem with that solution. It can be exhausting and emotionally draining to deal with negativity for 8+ hours a day. My advice… don’t be that person! Have you noticed how contagious negativity is? Well, positivity is even more contagious and creates a much better working environment.

According to the Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, we are all on the same path. However, each day we choose things that will either take us up to success or down to failure. Small choices compounded over a period of time will drastically affect our lives. Having a high emotional quotient (EQ) leads to a better self-image, guides you to make better choices, and allows you to move up the success curve in your life. Broadly speaking, EQ refers to your ability to perceive, understand and manage your feelings/emotions, recognize them in others and use that information to guide thinking and behavior.

Why is this so important? According to a CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers, almost 75 percent of respondents indicated that they valued an employee’s EQ more than their IQ.

Find a Mentor

This is the single most important step to grow your career—find a mentor. In fact, most successful people have mentors. Select someone who has done the things you are striving to achieve and pursue a relationship with them. A good mentor will challenge you, help you set measurable goals and hold you accountable. Take time to learn from their personal experiences, both good and bad. It will help you achieve success faster and avoid mistakes along the way. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and open to sharing your fears. A mentor can open doors and empower you to overcome any obstacles you encounter along the way.

Wondering how to find a mentor? Check out this infographic from Colorado Technical University for some great tips.

Bonus Tip: Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks

World famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar is often quoted as saying, “success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.” Opportunities often present themselves when you least expect them. Therefore, you should always be prepared. Ensure you resume is up to date, keep in touch with references periodically and be visible on LinkedIn so that opportunities can find you. Another way to help opportunities find you is to work with a recruiter who will get to know you, help guide your career search and be on the lookout for opportunities that meet your needs and goals.

Ready to grow your career? Contact us to learn about available opportunities.