Posted by Robert Half on 19 September 2014
A quick search on “secrets to success” would show up links to a whole slew of articles offering tips, like:
There are no shortcuts to success.
Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Never stop learning.
While the above examples are practical words of advice we could all relate to, they are certainly not career tips you and I don’t already know. But before we unveil the good stuff, ask yourself, “What does success mean to ME?”
Don’t bother looking up its definition because what’s right for others may not be right for you. According to career expert Bud Bilanich, author of Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice – All in 140 Characters or Less, the first step to every individual’s career success is knowing exactly what you’re after.
An interesting psychological point of view is that we generally live our lives in three different modes: doing, thinking, and being.
Of the three, humans have been conditioned to see “doing” and “thinking” as fuels to success. “Being”, on the other hand, is associated to inactivity and, therefore, laziness. However, Dr Steven Taylor, a senior lecturer in psychology based in the UK, has a different take on this. “Perhaps we should stop thinking of relaxation and inactivity in such a negative light, and begin to see them as essential not only for our well-being but also for our creativity and even our productivity,” he writes in Psychology Today.
Below, four experts in their respective fields offer tips to achieving career success:
“A successful career encapsulates the big, the small and the ugly tasks. While everyone wants to be part of something big, they have to start by being faithful in the seemingly insignificant tasks. Stop refusing these tasks.”
– Sherine Ong, Human Resource Manager, Raffles Medical Group
“I will hire either very specific people or brilliant misfits. We can train technical skills but we can’t train intelligence and attitude. The specific hires will eventually move on to the same specific role in another company. The brilliant misfits stay for years and run multiple departments. Don’t be the CV that fits the job description; be the person who fits the company.”
– Drew Graham, CEO, eVantage Technology
“Be resilient. Things rarely work out the way you planned and there will always be distractions and stumbling blocks that you have to deal with when you are on your road to success. The key is to persist and to develop the courage to move ahead even when everyone around you is telling you it is okay to give up.”
– Priya Shahane, Chief HR Officer, AXA Singapore
“While it is good to seek opportunities in building your career, it is even better to have a game plan for your overall career. A five-year career plan, for instance, can serve as a guide for your career, and you can review it any time you feel there is a need for a career switch. It would also allow you to plan your moves ahead of time – specifically, if you’re looking for the right opportunity rather than relying on what’s available in the market.”
– Edwin Tan, Senior HR Manager, Samsung Asia Pte Ltd (SAPL), Human Resource Division
Often the best way to know what you are after is to list down your attributes. Be honest and ask yourself questions like what you want in your career, what motivates you, and what you’re really good at. You may very well find yourself struggling with the list every now and then, and it’s okay – you need to give yourself time to establish your personal definition of career success.