We turned to our career experts to bring you a complete guide to how the best of the best approach their work lives. The good news? Every one of these habits is something that you can start doing—today.
1. They Think About the Skills They Need for the Next Job
We all (OK, most of us) try to be awesome at the skills in our job descriptions, but the most successful people also focus on what they’ll need to know to succeed in their next jobs. Not sure what skills you should be developing? Check out career expert Laura Katen’s tips for honing in on exactly what to reach for next.
2. They Speak Up in Meetings
Especially if you’re in a large meeting, intimidated by the higher-ups there, or don’t know much about what’s going on, it’s easy to sit tight and listen. But the people who get ahead don’t wait for permission or an invitation to speak—they make sure everyone in the room knows they have something to contribute. Even if you don’t have a suggestion? “Speaking up to advocate for a co-worker’s point of view or asking a well thought-out question can go just as far,” says leadership coach Jo Miller.
3. They Dress for the Job They Want
You’ve heard it a thousand times—but it consistently holds true. People who get ahead at work look to those above them and emulate not only the clothes they wear, but the ways in which they present themselves in the office, interact with others, and approach their work.
4. They Get to Know the Higher-Ups
It’s pretty hard to get promoted if your boss’ boss doesn’t know who you are—so make it a point to get to know the higher-ups in your department. Check out Sara McCord’s tips for talking to your boss’ boss the right way.
5. They Know How to Communicate With Those Higher-Ups
If you’ve ever been in an executive-level meeting, you know that c-suiters communicate a bit differently than the rest of us. So, if you want to make it there someday, it’s key to learn how to talk the talk. Career coach Lea McLeod gives a few tips for getting started.
6. They Don’t Panic When They’re Caught in the Elevator With a CEO
Instead, they make the most of the opportunity. The good news? We’ve got three conversation starters so you’ll always be prepared.
7. They Take Charge
When faced with a workplace challenge, a project roadblock, or low team morale, most people shrug and say, “Well, there’s not much I can do about it.” The most successful people, on the other hand, take action.
8. They Look for Leadership Opportunities
Whether it’s offering to lead a project team, volunteering to mentor a junior employee, or taking it upon themselves to train the new interns, people who want to (and do!) get promoted don’t wait for leadership opportunities to come from them—they look around, see where a leader is needed, and jump in.
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