Looking to advance your career?
There are thousands of tips, articles, and guides on the topic all over the web.
And if you tried to read all of them, you’d soon get super overwhelmed.
So, to put only the very best career tips and advice in one place, we created this guide!
To make it as comprehensive as possible, we’re going to include BOTH our own career tips from our blog, as well as that of the very best career experts in the world!
- General career tips
- Career advice on finding the right job
- Advice on excelling at your job
- Advice on getting a promotion
- Tips on starting your own business
Ready to get started?
Let’s dive in:
General Career Tips
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re a senior professional with a decade of experience, these career tips will come in handy:
- “Define career success for yourself. Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection. This is about defining your idea of success.” - Ami Au-Yeung, Workplace strategist, Career coach, and past Business Professor
- No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll need to know how to write a resume the right way: which sections to use, how to write your resume contents well, etc. Check out our guide for everything you need to know about resumes.
- Keep in mind that the ideal resume length is 1 page. Unless you have 15+ years of work experience, a single-page resume should be enough for any profession.
- Always tailor your resume to the company and position you are applying for.
- “Your branding is your image in the marketplace. You can brand yourself by starting a blog, creating a professional social media profile, or simply by providing awesome services.”- Eva Wislow, Author at Career Cast
- Perfect your social media so that it paints you as an authority expert in your niche and boosts your chances of getting hired. Follow relevant organizations and individuals, join groups, and share (or create) content that makes you seem credible.
- “Referrals are the most effective way to get hired”- Austin Belcak, Founder of Cultivated Culture
- Build your career proactively. Really think ahead - what are you planning on doing next year? What about the year after? You want to be constantly moving towards your goals, not just working aimlessly.
- If you don’t have a lot of work experience, you can still come out with a great resume. You just have to focus on your coursework, extracurricular activities, personal projects, and more. Check out this guide to learn how.
- To create a convincing cover letter, do some research on the job and company you’re applying for. Think of the cover letter as a personal email to the recruiter, where you explain why you think you’re a good fit for the position. Check out our guide on how to write a cover letter for a more detailed walkthrough and examples.
- “If you want to succeed in your career, you have to take ownership of both your triumphs and your failures.”- Brian Tracy, Founder of Brian Tracy International
- Before getting to the interview, come up with some general questions to ask the interviewer. This shows that you’re really passionate about the job/company and that you’re not going in blind.
- There are a total of around 35 most common interview questions out there. If you learn what they are (and what the interviewer expects from each answer), you’ll never have to worry about an interview ever again.
- “A strong first impression [at an interview] goes a long way — and it can help set the vibe for the rest of the conversation.”- Austin Belcak, Founder of Cultivated Culture
- “Your technical skills are likely the reason that you were hired for the job, but it is equally likely that strong interpersonal skills will be what keeps you there. The most important skills are communications, teamwork, and accountability.”- Makeda Waterman, Lisa Balbes, and David Harwell for Eos
- “Do what you love. Generally, that is bad advice. Leave hobbies as they are… Instead, discover your talents — abilities or skills that you have a natural aptitude in that allow you to be better at a job than the average person, even though you may not necessarily enjoy the job.”- Alan Seng, Head of Marketing at RockX
- Ditch your old Word resume and use an online resume builder instead. Resume builders are significantly easier to use, allow you to create a resume in a fraction of the time, and even look better!
Career Advice on Finding The Right Job
Finding a new job can be a challenging and frustrating experience.
Here’s how you can make the process easier to find THE right job.
- Even if the company you’re interested in isn’t recruiting, you can still email your resume to the relevant department head or HR manager. If your background is impressive, you might still get the shot!
- Company culture is an important factor to consider when looking for the right job. “If you work somewhere where the culture is a good fit, you'll tend to develop better relationships with coworkers and be more productive.”- Alison Doyle, Job search expert at The Balance Careers
- Not sure which job board to use when looking for your dream job? Here are our favorites.
- Don’t apply for a job unless you really think you’d be a good fit for it. Your skills and experience should always match the job requirement. You’ll have a much easier time finding a job you’ll be happy at.
- “By applying to growth-stage companies, you multiply the chance that they’re looking for entry-level people. Fast-growing companies often like to train people and promote from within as they build their company culture and expand their operations.”- Biron Clark, Founder & Career Advice Author at Career Sidekick
- Interviewing works both ways. It’s just as important that you ask questions to make sure the company you’re applying for is a good match for YOU, not just the other way around.
- “Be punctual, presentable, and well organized. It is important to be on time! Arriving late to an interview is a bad start, but not one that cannot be overcome. Make sure that you dress appropriately for the interview, showing that you realize the importance of the interview.”- CJ Goulding, Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network
- Really research the companies you’re applying for. Spend some time reading up on what the employees have to say about the company on Glassdoor.com, and see if there are any red flags. Check their LinkedIn to see if anyone you know works there (and can get you a reference).
- “Dig deeper; look for outside opinions about the company in the form of news articles, or similar information.”- America’s Job Exchange Recruiting Specialist
- “If you are not currently working, treat your job search as if it were a full-time position, ensuring you spend as much time as possible identifying suitable job vacancies and working on applications.”- Robert Half Recruiting Agency
- Underqualified for the job you want? Stop and reflect how you can gain new skills. If you’re a newbie to the industry, competing with people who have years of experience, you can’t hope to land the job, no matter how determined and passionate you are.
- “Experience of training other colleagues [is a desired skill]. If you volunteer to be the person who acts as a buddy for new starters and you’ll get worthwhile experience for your CV while saving your colleagues some hassle.”- Oxford Royale Academy
- Help employers find you online. Optimize your LinkedIn profile so that it’s easier for recruiters to find you.
- “Keep adapting your career plan over time. Think like a scientist investigating a hypothesis.”- Benjamin Todd, CEO and Co-founder of 80,000 Hours
- Showcase your portfolio. If you’re a coder, turn to Github; if you’re a designer, Behance; and if you’re a writer, use Authory.
- “A portfolio allows others to see your work, what you're capable of, and what your strengths are. This helps others see how you fit in their vision, company, or product.”- Forbes Coaches Council
- Find your passion. “Look at the flip side of your weaknesses. If there is something you hate to do, look at its opposite.”- Linda Le Phan, Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu US
Advice on Excelling At Your Job
The real journey begins once you land the job.
Here’s how to make sure you keep it and excel at what you do.
- Focus on your professional development. Being involved in a variety of activities outside your work makes you a greater asset inside of work.
- “Everyone can turn their problems into their manager’s problems. Be the solution provider, not the problem creator. Great employees solve problems.”- David Deb, Founder & CEO at Career, Life and Business Transformation
- Make sure you’re always learning new skills. There’s always something new you can learn to help you excel at your job and show initiative. Making the extra effort will help you improve and show your commitment. Some things you can do include taking courses, training, reading books, attending online lectures, etc.
- Adopt a growth mindset. Make sure you know what success looks like in your position (in terms of results, KPIs, etc.) and what goals you should be focusing on.
- “Make strategy your day job, no matter what your title is”, Herminia Ibarra, Professor at London Business School
- Work together with your higher-ups and your team. Always ask for a second opinion. Make sure you are continuously learning from each other’s expertise and finding the best way to do things through collaboration.
- “Take (constructive) criticism gracefully. One of the hardest things for all of us to learn is how to handle constructive criticism — and how to use these critiques to improve our performance on the job.”- Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D, CEO/CMO and Publisher of EmpoweringSites.com
- If you’re working from home, set up a morning ritual and a routine to stay productive. It can be tempting to shut off your alarms and roll over to the other side of the bed when no one expects you at the office. But if you actually want to get things done, make sure you plan out your day in advance.
- “It's important to have a good work-life balance to be your best at work. Even if you're trying to improve your work performance, that doesn't mean work has to be your life.”- Matthew O'Neill, Co-founder & CEO at Samewave
- Feel like your dream job is in a different industry? It’s not too late to change lanes! You can do so with a career change resume. As long as you’re focusing on the right transferable skills and experiences, the transition can be a piece of cake.
- At the end of the day, nothing beats tenacity and persistence. Even if your talent isn’t there, as long as you stick to it, you’ll only get better at your job. Not giving up is key to mastering your job.
- “In crisis mode, our emotions will get the better of us if we let them.The next time you’re caught in a crisis, look for humour or moral support from a co-worker and then tackle that problem.”- Lim Kairen, Content Creator at Lifehack
Advice on Getting a Promotion
Getting a promotion is more than just doing your job well.
Here are some steps you can take to advance your career to the next level.
- Show leadership potential. Take charge and initiative when possible, and show your employer that he can rely on you for literally anything.
- “Strive to push the envelope. Try new things. Take some risks. Make yourself uncomfortable. Do the things that may make you look foolish. Seriously, what do you have to lose?”- Yun Siang Long and Kelly Kuehn for Work It Daily
- Be highly adaptable, especially if you’re working on a growing company or start-up. Your ability to multi-task and quickly shapeshift from task to task at the company’s needs will be 100% appreciated.
- “The key is to position yourself as an expert so that you’re looped in to all the important events and activities in your organization, and your opinion is sought after by the top people in your company. It’s about being relevant, creating value for your company…”- Glassdoor Team
- Own your projects from start to finish. Organizations love individuals who follow through on tasks and can consistently manage projects from start to finish without needing to be nudged, pinged, or reminded. If you do this right, you’ll not only get a promotion, but you’ll also be irreplaceable.
- “Never wait for someone to hand you a title. If you want more responsibility, start doing your dream job today.”- Jane Park, Contributor at Forbes
- “Map out at least 2-3 actions you can pursue in the coming months that you know would make a difference to your boss. Whether that’s taking a management class to boost your leadership skills or spending more time building relationships with other departments, make sure that your activities are visible and that your manager notices.”- Kari Reston, Talent and Diversity Consulting at Kari Reston
- “Everyone likes a go-to person. A go-to person is someone who has more knowledge, skills or expertise on a particular subject matter than everyone else. Be that person. Find your niche. Develop your expertise.”- Zack Friedman, Bestselling Author, Founder & CEO of Make Lemonade
- Think ahead - what kind of achievements would make you stand out among other employees? Then, try to make those achievements happen!
- “If you’re yet to obtain a Master’s degree, it might be a good idea to start making plans for it now. This is because most jobs have provisions that allow you to experience an increase in compensation if you get an advanced degree.”- Yasir Khan, Writer at Glassdoor
- “While working hard is important, your efforts may go unnoticed if you never put yourself in a visible position. If you want to show your employer why you deserve a promotion, you need to be noticed for your contributions to the company.”- Indeed Career Guide
- “Be proud of what you’ve achieved and what you have to offer and find an effective way to communicate this to potential employers. Use your experience to your advantage.” - Seek Australia
- Recently got promoted? Congrats! Make sure you mention it in your resume the right way, see our resume tips guide to learn how to do this.
Tips on Starting Your Own Business
There are SO many tips out there on starting your own business. So, which ones do you follow?
Here’s what we recommend.
- Start with developing your own website and blog. It’s 2020 - whatever your business might be, you can’t get away with not having a website.
- “Countless people dream of becoming entrepreneurs, but they never do. They’re burdened with excuses and fears of failing. If you really want to start a business, you need to address the reasons you think you can’t start a business and get rid of them.”- Mike Kappel, Founder and CEO of Patriot Software, LLC
- “Don't do it alone. You need a support system while you're starting a business (and afterwards).”- Ebraheem Al Samadi, Founder and CEO at Forever Rose
- Find a mentor. Having an experienced mentor, who’s done-all and seen-all, can seriously boost how fast you develop your business.
- “It takes a village to have a successful career; people who provide you with information, connect you to others, help you get your job done, advocate for you, mentor, guide, and sponsor you. And to build this type of network, your networking activity needs to be strategic.” - Bonnie Marcus, Certified Executive Coach at Bonnie Marcus Leadership
- Start simple. You might want to start off w/ some high-tech idea like the new Facebook or Uber, but you’re a lot more likely to succeed at entrepreneurship if you start w/ a simple, straightforward product or service.
- “Often the biggest barrier to success is the fear of taking that first step. Jump straight in, experiment, and see where it leads you.”- The Guardian
- At the end of the day, your business should be a solution to a problem. Think about the problems your target customers are facing, and how you can solve them.
- “It’s possible to develop an excellent business concept and deploy it in the wrong area. That’s why it’s important to understand the area in which you want to start your small business as well as your target customers.”- The Bottom Line Team, National Funding
- Invest in digital marketing. Even if you have a great product/service, what’s the use if no one knows about it?
- “Word of mouth can be the best thing since sliced bread if you own a small business – or like handing out doses of hemlock to your potential clientele. Which metaphor applies depends on what kind of word of mouth is circulating about your business.” - Susan Ward, Co-head of Cypress Technologies
- “Starting any business has a price, so you need to determine how you're going to cover those costs. It's never a bad idea to overestimate the amount of startup capital you need, as it can be a while before the business begins to bring in sustainable revenue.”- Joshua Stowers, Business News Daily
- Make sure you have the right people by your side. You want to hire well-rounded, highly adjustable people who you can trust. This can prove difficult, especially as the business hasn’t fully developed. But don’t settle for less than ideal.
- “Never stop learning and trying new things. What's profitable now, won't necessarily be profitable next year or 10 years from now.”- Jannet Attard, Founder and CEO at Business Know-How
And that’s a wrap!
Hope you found these career tips helpful.
There is no clear path or method for a successful career, and it takes a lot of time and dedication.
But as long as you keep these career tips in mind, you’ll get there!
Now, it’s up to you to apply them to your career and grow both professionally, and personally.