What is the best career advice you’ve been given?
To help you learn from the career advice of others to make you successful, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best guidance. From being proactive in seizing growth opportunities to working to learn rather than to earn, there are several pieces of career advice that you could make your own to help you chart your course for a successful career.
Here are 13 pieces of career advice these leaders have received that help them the most:
- Be Proactive in Seizing Career Growth Opportunities
- Don’t Settle
- Honor Your Instincts
- Get a Mentor
- Seek Happiness Instead of Money
- No Job is Too Small
- Trust Your Instincts
- Focus on Living Your Dream and Not Someone Else’s
- Network to Help You Advance
- Learn How to Set Boundaries Right From the Get-Go
- Set Aside Time for Yourself to Avoid Burnout
- Be 15 Minutes Early for All Appointments
- Work to Learn Rather Than to Earn
Be Proactive in Seizing Career Growth Opportunities
I entered the workforce over a decade ago with the concept that if I worked hard enough and exceeded my employer’s expectations, they would automatically reward me with raises and offer promotions. My then manager cleared this sad misconception during my very first year at that job. Upon asking why I wasn’t considered for a better-paying position at a larger branch of the organization, he responded by saying, “your career is your responsibility. Learn to advocate for yourself when you know there’s an opportunity; if there is no opportunity, create one.”
I believe his words led me to where I am now, heading my own well-established recruiting firm. So many people become successful due to stellar career management skills, even with otherwise average job skills. Offering to work on an important project or asking for a raise or promotion when you deserve one will lead to faster professional growth than waiting for an opportunity to knock at your door.
Anjela Mangrum, Mangrum Career Solutions
Don’t settle. That’s the best career advice I’ve ever been given, and it’s something that I try to live by every day. When you’re looking for a job, don’t just take the first offer that comes your way. Make sure that it’s a job that you’re passionate about and that you can see yourself doing for the long haul. Don’t settle for a position just because it pays well or because it’s easy. Challenges and obstacles are what make life interesting and worthwhile. If you can find a job that offers both of those things, then you’ve found something special. So, don’t settle – keep searching until you find the perfect fit.
Antreas Koutis, Financer
Honor Your Instincts
While advice can be helpful, you should also honor your own instincts. Be honest with yourself about what you want to do career-wise, and try not to worry too much about doing what people expect you to do or what they think you should do. This idea may sound simple, but it is a pain point for many people who feel parental or societal pressure to pursue careers in traditional fields such as law or healthcare.
Drew Sherman, RPM
Get a Mentor
Once you have been working in the field for some time and have started seeing some success, it is important to get a mentor. A mentor will help you take your career to the next level by sharing their own expertise and knowledge with you. They will also provide guidance on how you can progress further in your field and what new challenges you should take up. Having a mentor is an invaluable asset, so if you can find one, make sure to make the most of their mentorship!
Danielle Bedford, Coople
Seek Happiness Instead of Money
Entry level workers should focus on what they want to be doing. This is the start of everything, and it’s important that you enjoy the work you’re doing. We’re so driven by money, but sometimes that negatively impacts our health and we end up in a job we hate. Take your young working days to determine what you like and what you don’t like, and work on improving your skills. Your older self will be grateful you chased happiness instead of money.
Jodi Neuhauser, Ovaterra
No Job is Too Small
Right after college, I wanted to go to New York to start my career in television. But Barbara Walters told me I should ‘go local’ by working at smaller market television stations nearer my hometown and work my way up. So, I started as an assistant, getting coffee, logging tapes, and running audio. Then I worked my way up to writer, producer, and anchor. I’m so glad I took Barbara’s advice because it allowed me to make mistakes and learn from them without worrying that my career would be over before it even began. Starting small also helped me figure out what I like doing regarding news broadcasting and what I don’t like–which, I always tell my kids, is just as important because figuring out precisely what you want to do takes time.
Maria Shriver, MOSH
Trust Your Instincts
Although intuition and gut feeling are mostly subjective and hard to describe, each person knows what it’s like to trust their instincts. Having all the information and facts is undoubtedly a crucial part of decision-making, but it’s the indescribable quality of your instincts that will ultimately take you to the right place. If you start feeling into your intuition early in your career, you’re more likely to be able to count on it for the bigger decisions later on.
Igal Rubinshtein, Home Essentials Direct
Focus on Living Your Dream and Not Someone Else’s
Focus on living your dream and not someone else’s. That is the most profound piece of advice someone has ever handed down to me as a business leader in my community. It’s so common to be consumed by someone else’s success on social media or within your friendship circle or family. Instead, the principal objective is to focus on your business’s ups and downs, be present with the teachings of the hardships and celebrate your wins. You must halt all comparisons and enjoy the voyage and the place it’s taking you because someone else’s highlights are not your reality.
Anamika Goyal, Cottage
Network to Help You Advance
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received regarding my professional life was to always place a strong emphasis on networking in order to remain relevant (both technically and relationship-wise). Through our networks, we will be able to learn about new advances in our sectors and environments, new ways of thinking, and new opportunities that will help us advance in our careers. Our networks, which can include coaches, mentors, sponsors, stakeholders, and peers, are an essential component of our reputation and skill-building, as well as our overall well-being, and they serve as a foundation for each stage of our professional path.
Josh Tyler, Tell Me Best
Learn How to Set Boundaries Right From the Get-Go
There was a time when hustle and grind were in the spotlight and having little to no boundaries was encouraged. But given how unsustainable this practice is, it didn’t last long and most leaders picked up on this shift. However, traces of this culture still remain and that is why it’s crucial to have healthy boundaries and maintain a work-life balance. Although it can feel uncomfortable at first, you will soon realize the importance of boundaries for your mental well-being and the longevity of your career.
Benoit Lacroix, Portmoni
Set Aside Time for Yourself to Avoid Burnout
Make sure to take breaks. A mentor once told me about the importance of setting aside time for relaxation. As an entrepreneur, my work can feel deeply personal and all-consuming. But never putting aside time for yourself can cause major burnout, which can be detrimental to your career. Putting aside my job for a little while each day to do something I enjoy helps me stay sharp and focused when it’s time to get back to work.
Rachel Reid, Subtl Beauty
Be 15 Minutes Early for All Appointments
The best career advice I have ever gotten is to be 15 minutes early. In other words, you should make it a habit to be 15 minutes early for all your appointments in a professional setting. Keeping in mind the slogan “15 minutes early or you’re late” helps me leave the house more quickly since I have, how should we put it, an unjustifiably optimistic perception of the amount of time it takes to get from point A to point B. That slogan has helped me be on time for meetings and activities at work. You will undoubtedly come into contact with several pieces of career advice as your career progresses. Consider career guidance like you would feedback. You can read some suggestions and find out what you already do well and what you should work on improving.
Akber Zaidi, WeLoans
Work to Learn Rather Than to Earn
The best advice I’ve been given was by Robert Kiyosaki in Rich Dad Poor Dad. The advice is to ask – “are you working to earn, or working to learn?” Society teaches us to chase the big paycheque. Everyone’s rushing to earn the biggest number they can, mostly so they can feel better when comparing their salary or net worth to others their age. Chasing a bigger salary can often lead to working stressful jobs, with bad management and a poor path upwards.
Instead, working to learn is much more fun, and often leads to a higher level of financial success further down the line. By pursuing opportunities to expand your skillset you’ll naturally become much more valuable. Instead of going down one path, you can end up combining several different skill sets and be uniquely valuable in a specific niche. This can lead to some incredibly unique and exciting opportunities. Which are far more fulfilling than rushing down a traditional route, not to mention often more lucrative in the end too.
Craig Galloway, Tech Detective