By Robin Doerschuk, TalentLaunch
I started my career in staffing and recruitment 14 years ago, and while a lot has changed, some practices are timeless. Through the years I have learned a lot about how to maximize productivity and take control of my career and life. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way, all of which I still use today:
- Manage your time. As remedial as it sounds, it’s important you know when to say no, when to say yes and how to block your day. Try these time management tricks:
- I never accept a meeting unless it was scheduled two to four weeks in advance. If you are the one setting up a meeting, try to use the same rule.
- Put time and thought into what you’ll bring to a meeting. Ask for a meeting agenda and block time for meeting prep.
- When someone asks for a meeting, think about if it has purpose and how it can bring value. Ask yourself these questions when a meeting is scheduled: Can I help this person? Can I learn from this person? Is there a topic I’d love to ask this person about?
- Always set up clear expectations and deliver on promises. This was struggle for me early in my career, and still is. What do you expect from yourself and from others – define these expectations and commit to them. Achieve this by laying out agendas and goals.
- Set goals. Goals should be set daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. Define goals for everything: calls, meetings and emails. I am not a fan of the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question, because you can’t be sure how your course will change in that time. I’d rather be asked where I want to be in one year, and in response I ask: What does success look like in your eyes for my position? Turn it back on others to discover what meeting expectations looks like in their eyes and what it would take to exceed expectations.
- Never stop learning. Be inquisitive and hungry to learn. Be an active listener by asking questions and listening to others. You can always expand your skillset and knowledge base. As soon as you think you know everything, do something different and take a new risk. A recent Observer article states the most successful people spend at least five hours a week learning and reading.
- Get away from your desk and meet people face-to-face. There is so much power in meeting people on social media, but an in-person meeting takes your relationships to the next level. You can’t put a value on meeting someone face-to-face. Networking over coffee and lunch is meaningful, and it’s hard to say no to someone’s face or to someone you spent time with.
Following these tips will help advance your career, no matter how long you have been in the workforce. I have learned throughout the years, a lot can change, but some basic practices can always help you organize, learn and become the best version of yourself.