Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stay Ahead of the Curve

The best professional advice I have ever received is to always keep learning.  Always stay ahead of the trend when it comes to your career.  Always know more than the person sitting next to you.  Know your craft and know it well.

I believe that even if you are at the bottom of the totem pole of your company, it is still important to keep up to date on your industry.  Otherwise, how else would you get to the top?

Below are five tips on how to stay ahead of the curve:
  1. Know your company:  Make it your business to know all about the organization you work for.  Review the organizational chart, know the history of the company, learn who the top officials are etc.  Most of all, you should know the mission and vision of your company, then ask yourself how you fit in with it.  Do you stand for the same things that your company does?  Knowing this will allow you to better discern your company and the role you play in it.
  2. Know your industry: You should be well acquainted with the ins and outs of your field.  Focus on specifics: what works, what does not, what are the average salaries, the educational requirements, how the field came about etc.  Know the rules, know the policies.  By doing this you will be more apt to recognize trends and thus identify where your industry is headed. 
  3. Stay challenged:  Even if your work is mundane, even when it no longer challenges you, find a way to make it challenging again. Take on new responsibilities, explore new departments, approach your daily tasks in a different manner- do whatever it takes to keep yourself excited about it.
  4. Move with the times:  The workforce is different now than it was even five years ago.  There are new job titles, some positions are now outdated, new positions have taken their place.  Technology is more important now than ever- do not be afraid to use it.  Do not cling to old-fashioned views that can infringe on the advancement of your career. 
  5. Use your resources:  Pay attention to what is offered or made available to you.  Attend trainings, meetings, fairs etc.  Go to the library and read about your field.  Go online and read blogs about it.  Never quit learning.
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