Ask any child what they’d like to do when they grow up and they’re sure to have an answer for you. Fireman, doctor, airline pilot, singer or explorer… These are just some of the classic career choices kids come up with.
However, it seems that not many of us have actually been able to land that dream career. According to a recent Voucherbox survey, only 9% of us are actually in the jobs we dreamt about having when we were young, with the rest of us having ended up in totally different careers.
But that’s not to say you should give up on your dreams. If you’re passionate about building your career in a certain direction, only you can get you there. However, there are some habits that all successful people seem to share, and whatever career you have your heart set on, these could help you achieve your goals.
Get a head start on the day
Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was undoubtedly a successful woman, and like many other high achievers she started her day much earlier than the people around her. If you’re motivated enough to succeed, being at your desk an hour or two before the rest can make a crucial difference. It’s not just about spending more hours at work; if you’re there when nobody else is around, you can also benefit from quality time where your thoughts will not be interrupted by other people. Of course, it’s not possible to do this with all careers but most desk-based professionals can usually make the most of the dawn chorus hours.
Some people have a habit of rubbing others the wrong way. Sometimes, this doesn’t hinder their ultimate path to success – Mark Zuckerberg would be a prime example – but it certainly doesn’t make life easy for them. There’s a lot to be said for being nice to those you work with and most traditional employers will be more willing to take on a friendly and skilled rather than an abrasive and skilled person when they’re interviewing for a post. Employers don’t want to risk taking on people with difficult personalities who might rock the boat and upset other employees.
Blend your social and professional profiles
If you’ve got your LinkedIn profile looking impressive and suitably reflecting your professional skillset, that’s all well and good. But what if a prospective employer looked at your Tumblr or Snapchat account – would they still have the same impression of you? Too many people think that they can keep their professional and personal profiles separate, but it’s best practice to be the consummate professional in anything that you post online – otherwise it could come back to haunt you at some point. That doesn’t mean you can’t show that you have fun outside of work and on your travels – just make sure to keep what you share online wholesome!
Don’t become complacent or inflexible
It’s most likely that you’ll know your stuff in whatever field you’ve chosen to specialise, but make sure you keep up to date when it comes to new ways of working and increasing your knowledge around your speciality. And while you might be at the top of your game in a specific area, there’s also the possibility that you could do even better in another, related field. Keep an open mind to applying the skills you have in a different industry – you never know when an opportunity might come up.
You don’t need to be the first, but you do need to be the best
Many people have similar ideas about a product or a service that they could bring to the world, but then feel defeated if they are ‘beaten to it’ by someone else. But it’s not just about being first to have a ‘eureka’ moment, it’s about being the best at delivering the idea. You might not be the first to invent a new product, but it doesn’t mean you couldn’t do a better job if you put your mind to it, making it more customer-friendly or more affordable, for example.
Adopting these good practices as part of your daily working life will ensure that you’re functioning at your optimal level at all times, and help you ensure that you’ll be excelling at whatever career you’re in. Even if it wasn’t what you imagined you’d be doing when you were a child, it may turn out to be your dream job after all.