10 Pieces of Career Advice for Professional Success

Get out of your comfort zone, find a mentor, follow the 80/20 rule and more career advice to find success at work and advance your professional journey.



Career advice fundamentals

Getting the right career advice can make a significant impact on your career success and put you on the right path to professional development. Whether you're experienced and looking for your dream job or just starting out on your professional journey, there is always room to learn how to boost your professional performance and achieve your career goals.

Implementing the right career advice can enhance yourself professionally and improve your existing skill sets. It can even lead you to improve your job search skills or lead to a new, better career path.

In this article, we'll go through the top 10 pieces of career advice that can help you become more successful and advance in your career, regardless of your profession. If you're at a crossroads in your professional journey, we'll walk you through how to choose the career that's right for you and avoid career burnout. Lastly, we'll show you how to successfully seek out career advice from the people in your life that you admire and look up to.

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Top 10 career advices

The list of helpful career advice could be long enough to fill a book, but not all career advice is created equal. Below we’ll explore the 10 best career advice tips for any professional.

1. Show up early

This advice is a classic that’s seemingly as old as time itself. But it’s universally applicable, regardless of the professional or social situation you find yourself in. Showing up early shows you are responsible and mean business. This is especially true for job seekers showing up to a job interview or internship.

2. Go outside of your comfort zone

This is a significant piece of career advice, as it applies to all fields and professions. People often find themselves in careers they’ve become too complacent in. This can lead to job dissatisfaction and lack of professional growth, which ultimately affects your work-life balance.

Make sure to venture outprofessionally and take on new tasks, however daunting they may seem. You’ll gain unique experience and learn skill sets that will forever be with you.

3. Do a job you enjoy

This one may seem pretty obvious at first glance but is highly applicable to many professionals. Doing a job you enjoy can motivate you to improve your performance and excel in your career.

4. Dress for the job you want

In modern times, sometimes dressing right is downplayed, but even for the most casual work environment, keeping a neat, professional appearance can pay dividends, and put you on the right path to landing the job of your dreams.

5. Find a mentor

This is true not only in your professional life but also in your personal life. Surround yourself with people you admire and look up to, as they will help you grow professionally and in life. Seeking a mentor or career coach can go a long way towards enhancing your career.

6. Learn to take criticism and make the most of it

Receiving criticism is an inevitable part of any job. For example, if you’re just starting out with a new job, receiving critiques on your work is nearly unavoidable. While most people approach receiving criticism in a negative light, accept criticism with grace and use the feedback to improve yourself.

7. Sit down and evaluate your career every few years

As you move on in your career, your wants and needs will change. Take the time every couple of years to evaluate your competencies and current life situation, your overall goals, and whether they align with your current career.

8. Work harder than everyone under or above you

This is some valuable advice that can apply to any job. Improving your work ethic in comparison to those around will help you excel and do good work at whatever you choose to do.

9. Be nice and have a positive attitude

This advice may often get overlooked but it is crucial for any job. By having a positive attitude, you contribute to a better work environment and keep yourself on the track to success.

10. Live by the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the impact can be done with 20 percent of the work

Working harder than anyone around you doesn’t mean much if your hard work does not show results and leave an impact. Work hard and smart.

How to seek career advice from others?

You may already have several people around you that you look up to but just never got around to asking for career advice. Here are some steps you can take to get useful tips from them:

  1. Do the basic research in advance

    Before you ask someone for career advice, you should do your part to learn as much as you can about the industry and career you’re interested in. A basic understanding helps you to maximise your time with a career expert by firming up the questions that matter the most.

  2. Research mentors in your industry

    Even if you already have someone in mind that you want to ask for career advice, it’s still a good idea to search for other mentors as they may turn out to be better candidates than your initial choice. Colleges, universities, alumni and professional networking events are great places to find mentors who are experts in their fields.

  3. Ask for a meeting

    If you find yourself in a college setting, seek out professors who are experts in your field of interest. Ask for a meeting or pay a visit during their office hours. If you’re at a professional networking event, strike up casual conversations with professionals around you.

    If you find your mentor online, send them an email stating who you are and try to find a common connection with them. Make sure to attach your CV and ask for a time to meet

  4. Be prepared and grateful

    Once you have the meeting scheduled, come prepared and show your gratitude from the beginning. Come prepared with a selection of the most meaningful questions to ask so you remain focused and not bombard them with endless random questions.

  5. Follow up

    Make sure to follow up via email or call after your meeting to thank the career expert for their valuable advice. It’s always a good idea to keep in touch with your mentors as you grow on your professional journey.

How to choose the right career for you?

Choosing the right career that’s right for you starts with you. Take the time to genuinely assess yourself with tools such as a strong interest inventory, make a list of what you want from a career, and prioritise it. Define your short-term and long-term goals while noting your skills and areas in which you excel and use them to narrow down your career options.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, put together a list of jobs and job titles you’d like to explore and research positions and employers in those fields. Then narrow down your selection to two to five top career choices and begin applying to them.

FAQ: career advice

Q: What are some questions to ask your mentor?

  • What do you love about your job?
  • What’s the best career decision you’ve ever made?
  • What’s the worst career decision you’ve ever made?
  • What would you be doing now if you were me?

Q: What are some questions to ask your career advisor/counselor if you're still in school?

  • How do I build on my strengths?
  • How is the job market in my industry?
  • How can I make myself stand out?
  • How can I best network?

Q: How do I know it's time to change careers?

It may be time to change careers if you find yourself too complacent at your current job or if your salary doesn’t make up for your dissatisfaction at work, which then begins to affect your personal life. Changing careers can be an exciting transformation in your life and offer the motivation you have been longing for.


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