How healthy are your career habits?
Are your everyday actions priming you for peak career performance? Or are you so focused on your current job you’re at risk of developing shrivelled prospects?! (Yep, that’s a real thing…)
Think ‘holistic’ and you might think: health. But it actually means considering each part as connected and essential. When applied to your career it means taking a ‘big picture’ view and looking above and beyond, in addition to doing your job well.
Why should you do this? After all you’re doing what you’re being paid to do, right?
Well, developing healthy and holistic career habits will set you apart from your peers.
Cultivating the healthy career habits below will help put you in the best position to take your next career step. On the other hand, cultivate a blinkered, ’computer says no’ approach and you’re likely to wind up with zero opportunities – or those withered prospects we mentioned earlier.
Check out the holistic career habits that could mean career success below:
Start learning the skills you need for your next job now
Unhealthy: You stick to your job description and never deviate. At its worst think: the ‘computer says no’ woman from Little Britain. But even if you do your job well this approach won’t best position you for your next role.
Holistic: Taking a bird’s eye, or holistic, career view means thinking beyond your role boundaries. Ask yourself: what skills or knowledge do I need to take me to the next level? Then take action.
Dress for the job you want not the job you have
Unhealthy: Dressing down when others are dressing up – despite your workplace ‘wear what you want’ dress code.
Holistic: Dress for the job you want. This might sound old hat (pun intended), but last year a Wall Street Journal article highlighted a few studies that show it really does matter what you wear to work. Yes, people really do judge a book by its hoodie cover.
It also turns out that suit-wearers are better at negotiating than their sportswear-loving counterparts. The thinking goes that your smartness commands respect which feeds your confidence. Cue: negotiation mastery!
But it’s not all about what you’re projecting. Another study suggested that people actually engage in higher levels of abstract thinking when they smarten up. Perfect for big picture thinking then.
Make friends in high (& other) places
Unhealthy: You keep to yourself. Or, you form a kind of close-knit clique with your nearest team members.
IT departments, rightly or wrongly are renowned for this. The result can be alienating for both those in the clique and those needing to access your skills.
Holistic: Keen to take the step up? Then you’ll need to get known in all the right places.
That means getting to know your company bosses and how they talk. Learn the company lingo. Get your face known.
But you also need to know what’s going on across departments. Befriend people in other teams. Stop and talk to the receptionist. This way you get a broad overview of your company. And knowledge is power as they say.
Know what’s happening – business-wise
Unhealthy: You don’t take an interest in what’s happening in your business sector. After all, that’s the boss’s problem, right?
Holistic: Wrong. Knowing your sector is crucial to understanding your company and how you can make an impact.
Keep up with sector news, events, your competitors and of course, what’s going on in your own company.
TIP: Set up a Google alert to keep abreast of sector news and views.
Record your successes
Unhealthy: You’ve put in the graft. You’ve reached, or exceeded, your KPIs. But, while you may be congratulated you can’t simply rest on those laurels. People forget. In fact YOU might forget.
Holistic: You must keep a record of your own successes.
TIP: Create what’s known as a ‘brag folder’ to showcase your successes
It can be real or virtual. Some simply save it in an email folder. Whatever you choose to do record:
- Client praises
- Colleague compliments
- Your boss’s feedback
- KPIs reached and exceeded – with numbers
Keeping tabs on your successes means you’ll have instant access to the info you need to create that role-winning CV promptly; as well as data for appraisals and interviews.
Pitch ideas – which might actually work
Unhealthy: Keeping your head down is for school. Keeping your ideas to yourself or getting stuck in a thought rut – “That’s how we’ve always done things around here!” – is not a recipe for career greatness.
Holistic: To get ahead at work you need to show you can think creatively. Smart people are full of ideas, but brilliant people can sell those ideas.
Why? Because they understand how their ideas will impact their team and their business.
Take opportunities you’re afraid of
Unhealthy: Your line manager asks if you’d like to head up on planning a key event, but you’re too shy to stick your neck out. After all you’re busy enough with your daily tasks, right?
Holistic: When you’re offered a big opportunity, consider taking it — even if you’re a bit scared.
High risk can lead to high reward. Stretching yourself looks good when you’re looking to get that promotion. It shows you’re willing to take calculated risks. It shows you’re a team player. It’ll look good on your CV.
Constantly think about your career
Unhealthy: You’re so focused on your job you forget about your career. Which means you’re not prepared when job opportunities come up. Or you’re on the back foot when you’re suddenly made redundant.
Holistic: Successful people are clear on their career aims.
TIP: Every year spend some time really thinking about your career.
You make smarter career decisions when you have real data. Set goals. Decide how you’re going to reach them. Make contacts. Check out opportunities. And make sure your skills are in line with where you want to go.
For more career support call (or email) Angel today!
Next Steps: We want to hear about your healthy career habits! Found success with any of the habits above? We’d love to hear your thoughts.