Tips for your Career Success
Having worked in the recruitment industry for over a decade I have met many candidates who believe that moving to a new company will be the answer to their prayers. That new job, with more money, increased responsibility and additional training opportunities, is something that many aspire to. Before giving in to your desires and jumping ship, it’s worth double-checking to see if your needs can be met in your current company.
So how do you progress up the ladder and not get overlooked by your bosses?
I have listed some practical advice for managing your own career path. Promotions are earned, not given, and remember that you will sometimes need to go sideways to go up. The key to promotion is to promote yourself, create your own PR, get noticed for the right reasons and let the bosses know that you are willing to go that extra mile.
1. Be known and let the powers that be know of your accomplishments. Sell yourself and let it be known that you are seeking a promotion.
2. Use professional settings to seek counsel and to stress your interest in staying with the company. Use performance appraisals not just to go over your accomplishments, but to talk with your boss about potential roadblocks to a promotion – and how to overcome those barriers.
3. Update your skills and acquire new ones. Take up the offers of training and even seek out training that will add value to your role and, as a result, the company’s.
4. This is good practice anyway, but act professionally at all times. Earn a reputation for being dependable, professional, and cooperative. Act and look the part. Dress professionally and neatly – even on business casual days.
5. Keep a positive outlook on things, even when in tough situations. Don’t whine or complain – or blame others – when things don't go your way.
6. Make a name for yourself in your industry through conferences, articles, and speeches.
7. Be a problem-solver. Don’t go to your boss with problems. If a difficult situation arises, be sure to come up with at least one solution to deal with it, before seeking your boss’s blessing. Problem-solvers get promoted. Complainers who expect the boss to solve all their problems don’t.
Perhaps there is no genuine opportunity to progress with your current company, or you wish to move on for different reasons. If you are looking externally for a new role, we have some Preparation Tips for a Successful Interview.
You may be well-versed in the world of interviews, but a little reminder will do you no harm. Below is a list of our top tips on preparing for an interview.
1. Have a decent night’s sleep. This may seem obvious, but people often feel the need to relax with a few drinks the night before an interview. Trust me, it’s not a good idea. Bloodshot eyes, a mild hangover, and an upset tummy are the knock-on effects that won’t make a good impression.
2. Get a good breakfast. Even if you are very nervous, you should eat a good healthy mix that will keep hunger at bay! Avoid too much sugar and caffeine.
3. Don’t rush. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination. Do a dummy run and then add at least half an hour to cover delays. Double-check the weather forecast the night before (you don’t want to be sitting there in a lined suit when it is a roasting hot summer day!) and ensure your car keys, cash point card, or train tickets are to hand. The last thing you want is a blind panic on the morning of the interview.
4. Check out if they have parking; where the nearest car park, tube station, or bus station is and what time these services run.
5. Have your clothes clean, ironed, and ready to go. Don’t leave this for the morning of the interview.
6. Wear practical shoes! Don’t try and break in new footwear or wear something that is difficult to travel too far in. You may be asked to walk around the business. No good if you look like Bambi after a bottle of vodka. If you want to wear something glamorous, take some trainers and change before you get to the interview.
7. Do your research. Blitz the web, newspapers, and the trade press. Find out all you can about your prospective employers. Read up on the current important topics that relate to the firm. Google the senior people in the firm. You are bound to find some useful information.
8. Listen to music that you find relaxing or empowering in the morning or on the way to the interview.
9. Get a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you. Often answering the questions out loud allows you to notice any mistakes. Do this at least a couple of nights before the interview, not the night before.
10. Don’t over-rehearse your answers. Do a mock interview but don’t overdo it. You will come across stiff and staid. Know your answers, but allow room to go with the flow.
11. Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer; go above and beyond what you will get paid and how much leave you are entitled to. Show an interest in the job, the firm, and what it can offer you. Find an industry-related topic that is currently hot and ask a question on this.
12. Use flattery. Mention you have read something on the web site that you were impressed by or say that, within the industry, the firm has a great reputation.
13. Make sure you haven’t got anything embarrassing on Facebook or other social networking sites. Employers are increasingly checking these sites during the recruitment process.
14. Sell yourself. You need to make an impression and ensure that the interviewer is aware of your strengths and of what you can offer.
15. Think of practical examples to standard interview questions; for example, how you would answer a question like, “Give me an example of your problem-solving skills.”
16. Don’t lie either on your CV or during the interview. Good interviewers have done their research on you and being caught lying will cost you the job. Do you watch “The Apprentice”? I am sure you watched Lee McQueen, recruitment sales manager, squirm on “The Apprentice” as he was interviewed and caught out for telling a porky on his CV. Lee’s CV was scrutinised closely by his interviewers, who were unimpressed by its contents. Don’t let the same thing happen to you. Sir Alan Sugar overlooked this misdemeanour and Lee was offered the job, but not all employers would be so forgiving.
I hope this has been of interest to you, and if you are looking to move from your current company please do visit our niche legal jobs board, Simply Law Jobs, where there are hundreds of legal secretary vacancies.