Getting ahead in business: 7 life lessons for young people

Very happy businessmanRecently, I was asked to think about the top seven life lessons that young people getting established in their career should know about getting ahead in business.
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I came up with eight… here’s what I said:
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1. Never be afraid to talk to people.
If there is one thing that holds people back in their careers, it is when they take a passive approach—either to their jobs or job seeking in general. People who sit at their desks, head down and work studiously are fine, but they’re never admired or valued as much as the person who gets to know what their co-worker does; or the person who has enough confidence to offer a few ideas to improve the way things are done, or the person who is willing to have a friendly and respectful chat to senior people in the lift, the carpark or the office.
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2. Always be alert to what is happening around you.
People often come to me shell​shocked saying that they’ve been sacked due a merger or a downsizing that they never saw coming. They’re surprised to find that other people have seen the writing on the wall months before and have been preparing their resumes, and “putting the feelers out” to their network. These people have never been savvy enough to see what was happening around them—thinking that working hard and keeping their head down is enough. It isn’t.
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3. Commit to nurturing your career Don’t put off writing your resume; you never know when an opportunity will present itself. Don’t stay in a job where you’re bored; you’ll get complacent doing nothing and complacency is the enemy of a progressive, satisfying, well-paying career.
4. Make and maintain relationships: Commit to the process of making friendships, meeting people who can help you get ahead, and actively nurturing those relationships throughout your career. This means you’ll also have to give your time to others too. It’s the “get to give” concept and it’s worth it. Trust me.
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5. Don’t blame others: Don’t look for everyone else to have the answers nor blame them when things go wrong. Take responsibility for your actions.
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6. Maintain professional boundaries. There’s an old saying, “Don’t air your dirty laundry in public”. Today, with social media, the lines have blurred between your professional and personal life. People are oversharing to the detriment of their careers and it’s too late before the penny drops. Remember: 1. the internet is forever 2. Keep your private stuff private (lock down your Facebook). Watch your language and your prejudices voiced on public sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Quora and Instagram. Everything that is in the public domain should be consistent and show a likeable, intelligent and motivated person.
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7. Be Upbeat at work: We all have disappointments at work and in life. Things may not go the way you want or like. Walking around with a bitter expression, being snarky with your co-workers, grumbling incessantly and walking around with a chip on your shoulder will never make people change their mind, or go the extra mile for you. If you have a legitimate work-related complaint, raise it through the right channels. If you want to, leave the job… but if you’re just having a hissy fit because you didn’t get your own way… chill. People are judging and you’re not two years old. Sometimes life sucks.
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Bonus life lessonDon’t ever forget to say please and thank you. 
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What is the most important piece of advice you’d give a young person embarking on their career?
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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.