Growing up I bet you heard your parents repeat this over and over again: “good things come to those that work hard”.
And while there is some truth here, it’s certainly not the whole truth! We are now living in a world where you can practically hack your way into anything and your professional success is not an exception. Here are some ways you can hack your professional life… or at least give you a damn good idea of what you do not want to be doing when you grow up.
Look for where the successful people are
This sounds ambitious, maybe too ambitious for the shy at heart, but hear me out. When you surround yourself with high achievers, your mindset will start changing and will absorb all that goodness from them. Not in a greedy way, but in a “holy shit, that is super interesting how they see-things-in-a-complete-different-perspective-type of way”. So don’t be shy, reach out or even quietly follow them on LinkedIn or Twitter. You will be very surprised to see how just being slightly curious about these people will start shaping your mindset, and therefore your actions.
Keep up to date with the industry by attending meetups and events
My little brother used to call me and ask for advice on how to get the jobs he wanted, how to ‘break into a new industry’. My advice has always been: GO AND MEET THE PEOPLE THAT YOU WANT TO WORK WITH! Australia has such a social/professional lifestyle, we will do business or hire the people that we feel comfortable working with on a personal level (and are obviously capable of doing the job). So be interested in the industry, attend events, introduce yourself and if you feel like you don’t have anything interesting to say, think of interesting questions to ask! The point is people will remember you, and if you are lucky, like my brother, people that you meet at events will recommend you for jobs.
Reach out to a mentor or coach
Professional athletes have coaches, so why not have one for your working life? A coach will help you unlock the person you want to be at a lightning pace. A coach will absolutely help you to get wherever you want to go, but you need to be ready to put in the work and the time. A coach will help you realise your potential. Think of them as your very own Mr Miyagi.
A mentor is someone that can offer you advice from their experience. Choose someone whose career you admire, successful people are very busy so make sure you are serious about your intentions.
As a piece of advice, make sure you are prepared to commit to your work with either a mentor or a coach, otherwise, you’ll just end wasting yours and their time.
Be public about your interests
We live in the era of social media, of sharing with anyone and everyone the food we eat and the holidays we take. Why not use the appropriate channels to be vocal about what your interests and ambitions are? Start creating a profile on your LinkedIn with topics you are interested in. You don’t have to write an article a day, maybe start with reposting things you found interesting. You don’t have to nail this from the beginning, but it’s very helpful that people know what you’re into, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when people start inviting you to events, courses, etc… or even reaching out for other things.
Volunteer for projects at work
If you are trying to branch out of what you are doing or if you want to ‘test-drive’ new departments, this is the best way to get there. Volunteering for projects outside of your normal day-to-day at work shows interest, initiative and motivation. These are key things that senior people in organisations like to see, and therefore those are the ones more likely to be put forward for more senior jobs. Don’t overthink it, put your hand up for things you’d like to try out, and show a willingness to learn – people are always happy to teach others new skills.