Now that we’ve established that you can make your career worth millions more if you manage it correctly, let’s discuss what steps you need to take to do this.
You Must Be Proactive
Before we get into details, let’s discuss the one thing most people don’t do that’s costing them millions: they don’t manage their careers.
Most people simply have a “take-it-as-it-comes” approach to their careers.
They hope for the best, they want the best, they assume “if they do a good job” they will get the best. But they don’t take any steps to make their career (and thus their earning power) any greater. They have a “come-what-may” attitude to managing their careers and thus they get “come-what-may” raises, promotions, and the like (which, in case you are wondering, aren’t that great).
On the other hand, there are people who actively manage their careers. They intentionally work on their careers, developing plans to grow and become better at their professions. As such, they get better-than-average promotions and better-than-average raises. And as such, they make millions more throughout their careers.
Seven Steps to Millions More
So what are the key steps to take to make the most of your career? Here’s my list:
If you want to get ahead in your career, you have to over-perform. This means you need to:
A) Establish what the required output is for your position.
B) Give your employer more than that.
Those that consistently over-perform are the ones that get promotions, greater responsibility, and higher wages.
For more details see 7 Steps to Millions More: Over-Perform
2. Be likable.
Some career experts rate likability above performance on the list of how to grow your career. Why? Because people are more likely to help those they like, give the benefit of the doubt to those they like, promote those they like, and so on. So strive to be likable — even if it kills you. 🙂
For more details see 7 Steps to Millions More: Be Likeable
We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Knowing the right people isn’t the one end-all pathway to career success, but it’s a major part of it. You need to build and develop a broad network of people who can help you with your current assignments, point you to a new job if need be, serve as references during your job search, and be a resource for all sorts of career-related situations you may face.
One key to having a great network is to be a helpful resource for others, so look for ways you can assist those in your network. And be sure to develop a networking plan centered around things like volunteering, attending local events, going to industry conferences, joining professional organizations, and the like to make sure your network is strong and healthy.
For more details see 7 Steps to Millions More: Network
4. Be attractive.
Here’s what studies say about attractive people: “[They are] hired sooner, get promotions more quickly, and are paid more than their less-attractive coworkers. Attractive people earn an average of 3 or 4 percent more than people with below-average looks.” Another piece says beautiful people make 12% more than less appealing people.
Fortunately (especially for me) you don’t have to go over-the-top and have plastic surgery to enhance your beauty. There are simple, basic steps everyone can take that will make them more attractive. Simply dressing nicely, having proper hygiene, being in shape, and so on are steps we can all take to improve our appearances. In addition, there are other qualities (higher self-esteem, pleasant personality (i.e. being likable), good social skills) that are generally attributed to attractive people that anyone can develop if they focus on them.
For more details see 7 Steps to Millions More: Be Attractive
5. Continue learning and developing skills.
If you want to continue showing value in your field, you need to keep learning and increasing your skills. Pursue certifications, degrees (especially those the company pays for), seminars, classes, training, and other opportunities that increase your expertise and ability to do a better job. Take time to learn through reading and listening to podcasts. Look (volunteer) for projects that help develop additional skills (leadership skills are especially valuable). Employers value these extras and you’ll eventually be able to cash in your hard work in one way or another.
For more details see 7 Steps to Millions More: Continue Learning and Developing Skills.
6. Know how to manage yourself.
Believe it or not, there’s a whole skill to managing your career that doesn’t involve the actual work itself. Some call it “office politics”, some call it “getting ahead”, and some call it “career planning”. I call it managing yourself. Whatever you may call it, to be successful you will need a certain amount of skill at reading the winds of changes and ebbs and flows in your company and its employees. Those that do well at this get ahead. Those that don’t often get left behind, and it’s not because the work they do is poor.
Some questions we will answer in future posts: How do you promote your work without being over-bearing? How do you develop mutually beneficial relationships with key co-workers? How do you deal with the politics that exist at every workplace and come out ahead?
To address these (and other) tasks successfully you need to know how to manage yourself. Believe me, there are a whole set of skills required here that have nothing to do with the job itself but everything to do with career success.
7. Know how to market yourself.
At some point it’s highly likely that you’re going to have to find a new job. Do you have the skills to find new job opportunities, the know-how to get an interview, the ability to sell yourself and get a job offer, and the knowledge to negotiate the best possible deal for yourself? Top earners do. And they use these skills to grow their careers and salaries when needed.
That’s my list for the most important steps in growing your career. I’ll elaborate on each of these in upcoming posts, but for now these should give you plenty to consider.