A few weeks ago, I asked our readers to share their best career advice.
And wow! The range of answers from people from all different levels of experience and walks of life painted a strong picture of what’s working today to help real people manage their real-life careers.
I’ve picked 14 ideas from those who shared, with hopes that one or many of them will help you today. Take a minute and benefit from the gift of their experience here:
Here’s the Best Career Advice from Real People with Real Lives
1. Always fess up. Whether you are behind on a deadline or made a big mistake, take responsibility for it. Tell your supervisor as soon as you realize the problem and offer solutions on how to fix it. No one is perfect, and people will be quicker to forgive and forget if you are honest and try to fix the situation. –from Lori
2. Be unique and valuable It’s fine to go against the flow, providing that what you’re doing there has value. In fact, following the crowd means you can easily get ignored. –from Ben
3. There’s nothing you can do that we can’t fix. If you try something and it doesn’t work, make it a noble failure – learn from it and try again. As a perfectionist and over-thinker, I often suffer from analysis paralysis. This has caused me to drag my feet on new projects or even talk myself out of them before even starting. My mentor once told me that there is nothing I can do that we can’t fix, so jump in. If it doesn’t work out, make it a noble failure and move on. –from Tammy
4. First get to understand myself. I hope it will make me happy at my new employer.–from Marija
5. This may be specific to my industry (book publishing) but it’s to not put blinders on and to keep abreast of my competitors and the industry as a whole. My inbox is never going to be empty. There are always going to be submissions and queries to read but when I don’t read “for fun” (ie actual published, edited books by the editors I’m trying to sell to) I don’t do my job of finding new writers as effectively. I miss trends in narrative structure and character development. And I don’t have as much fun. So, my answer is to always do more and that makes my actual work easier. –from Gail
6. Life is a journey. Realizing today’s crisis or success isn’t the deepest valley or the highest pinnacle and to keep learning and doing! –from Cindy
7. Keep your eye on the next step. This means you must already have decided what the next step is. Just like dressing for the next higher level in your organization, being aware of your next step will cause you to automatically begin subconsciously integrating the foundation to reach that goal on a day to day basis. Without goals we have no destination. Having goals has guided me along my journey without hardly missing a beat. Now with 30+ years to look back on I can see the progression from beginner to consummate expert over those years. Successful self- employment over the long haul especially requires constant setting of goals and building of networks. –from Barbara
8. Be accepting of others and embrace the differences. Everyone has their own unique talent. This has helped me to be less critical and more accepting. –from Lisa
9. Value your time as your biggest asset, and protect your calendar fiercely. I’m not sure how this has helped – still trying to figure out how to effectively do it! –from John
10. Always keep a log of the achievements you have. This can be used for input to monthly reports, annual summaries, progress reports, etc. Even if your current manager never asks for the info, it will provide a great base for writing your next resume! I use this constantly and it has saved me hours and hours of work (not having to go back to reconstruct a list of achievements at a later date). –from Samuel
11. Be trustworthy. This has helped me be trusted with new accounts. –from Victoria
12. First thing each day is plan! Do not open your email, do not check that v/m, whatever it is you do. Spend the first 20 – 30 min planning your day, what must be done, who do you need to connect with and why, how are you going to show up at each encounter/meeting that day, who are the people you are meeting with and how do you need to interact with them, etc. Whatever planning looks like for you each do….set aside time to do it….20% planning and 80% doing. –from Caprice
13. Be integrity-filled, be kind, smile, use people’s names, be grateful, and employ the Golden Rule. –from Gail
14. “You are a work in progress. Don’t expect perfection. Expect growth”. I’m guessing it was not intended to be career advice, but that’s the way I use it; to be brave and courageous in my everyday role and not beat myself up for mistakes and missteps as long as I learn from them. –from Deanna
Thanks to everyone who contributed their best career advice! If you’d like to share yours, email me privately here.
And of course, when you’re ready for unbiased, confidential advice from a professional coach, schedule your free no-obligation chat with me here.
Read this next:
How to Get Clear on What You Want (Career Advice Mini-Training Video)