5 Pieces of Career Advice You Didn’t Know You Needed

Anyone searching for a job—or looking to revitalize a current one—will quickly realize career advice abounds, especially on the Internet. And while there are many outrageous tips you should ignore, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s sometimes worthwhile to think outside the box. Here are five tips that may finally make things click.

career advice you didnt know you needed

1. Be Social

This is especially vital for anyone just starting a new job. No matter how you feel about socializing with coworkers, joining them for a group lunch or after-work happy hour the first few times you’re invited will go a long way toward building goodwill and a friendly rapport with your colleagues—and that bond will prove invaluable when it comes time for group projects, asking a favor, or just general good-feeling in the office. If you need (or want) to decline these invitations later on, so be it, but do all you can to make it to the first few outings.

2. Don’t Look Too Busy

This may sound counterintuitive, but if you push yourself to the limit accepting new projects, helping out coworkers, or trying other ways to show you’re a superstar team player, chances are good the only thing your boss will see is that you appear overworked, overwhelmed, and stressed out. And if it looks like you can’t take the pressure, you lessen your chances of promotion. Instead, take the time to do your own work efficiently and to the best of your ability. After you’ve shown you can shine in your role, as about taking on new responsibilities.

3. Help Others

Once you’ve established a routine that allows you to meet your goals and the company’s objectives, focus on helping others. Whether it’s a swamped coworker, an extra assignment the boss has been meaning to get to, or some problem nobody’s worked on a solution for yet, it’s vital you demonstrate your ability to go above and beyond. Remember, helping others is as good for you as it is for them.

4. Quit Looking Ahead

Not permanently, of course, but it's worth it to take a break from thinking about how you can move up the corporate ladder and spending some valuable time looking at those around you. Is there another (faster) way to get where you want to be? Is there an entirely different role available at your company that, while not necessarily a promotion, will ultimately add to your quality of life? Sometimes we get so focused on one career path we fail to look around and see how many options truly exist.

5. Ask For Honest Feedback

It's always a good idea to have at least one or two people at work you trust to give you honest evaluations of your work. It can be difficult to see our own shortcomings and deficits. Enlist others who are willing to tell you the truth, help you pinpoint areas of weakness, and provide guidance on how to build your skills. Take every opportunity to learn, absorb good advice, and discover new ways to work smarter.

Whether you’re searching for new opportunities or looking to grow in the position you have now, take some time to figure out how to make the most of what you have. Great careers are rarely founded on following a straight line!

Search for your next job now:


Back to listing

The Washington Post Jobs Newsletter

Subscribe to the latest news about DC's jobs market