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Six steps to build great and successful career

Creating successful careers in the corporate world can be quite daunting for the unprepared. You should build a positive attitude .

Ronish Puri | Print Edition: December 14, 2006

People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going, said Earl Nightingale, philosopher and writer. I agree with him completely. The upper echelons of the corporate world haven’t reached the top by their expertise alone. They are there because they had the right strategy and they moved at the right time. More importantly, they knew why they did what they did.

Creating successful careers in the corporate world can be quite daunting for the unprepared. There are many brilliant candidates who unknowingly make that one career mistake which sets them back by years.

To avoid committing a career hara-kiri there are certain dos and don’ts you must adhere to:

Avoid short tenures: A company needs time to realise your worth so it is best if you spend a reasonable time with it. If you frequently move from one organisation to another, it becomes a habit. Tenures less than three years are considered
negative. Stability is achieved in four years and a career stint anywhere above five years is positive. However, to stretch it longer than eight years is not. Right time to move is between four and six years. But keep in mind, if you are given additional responsibilities and your aspirations are met within the organisation, then there is no need to go looking for a new job.

Welcome responsibility: Your biggest career opportunity is one when you get a chance to solve a difficult problem. Such situations not only establish your credentials but also add to your saleability. To perform better and deliver more to the organisation, you need to take on challenges willingly.

Lay down goals: As soon as you enter the corporate world set goals with time-frames to achieve them. Each goal should have a reason for you to follow it to the end. Also lay down your larger life objectives. You cannot isolate one from the other.

Take credit: Your work profile should be such that there are tangible achievements to your credit. Each one of us is a brand and one has to continuously build it. Thus take credit where it is due. Do not fudge facts as they reflect poorly on your integrity, thus affecting your growth in the long run.

Do not hide facts: Remember you are what you have done in the past. Great academic qualifications will only allow an entry into the corporate world. Beyond that it is your professional performance that will eventually help your career grow. Hence strengthen the foundation of your career: trust. An important job is given to a person who is trustworthy. Similarly, only a dependable person is promoted. Hiding short tenures is strictly unacceptable.

Don’t be an island: Individual brilliance is not enough. Team players are regarded as role models and they are the ones who get the top job in the long run. Learn to live and work with people. It is a world of self starters and low-maintenance employees. People who work irrespective of the environment, are the most sought after. The corporate environment is changing. There is more ambiguity, thus be prepared to work under unstructured conditions.

In the end, it is your attitude that will set you apart. If you build a positive attitude and do not compromise on values, you are sure to end as a winner.

(The author is a Managing Director of  Executive Access)

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