Stay competitive: 6 things every professional should do

Learn how the truly successful professionals move forward and stay ahead in their careers.

By Skiddy Von Stade


“Success is dependent on effort.” [ tweet this ] This simple, yet refined quote by the Greek poet Sophocles is a career motto every professional should live by. Moving forward and staying ahead in your career truly comes down to the effort and time you put into it — not just being in the right place at the right time.

If positioning yourself for success isn’t on the top of your to-do list, you’re likely to experience a few career-slowing repercussions. These could include fewer future job opportunities, limitations from moving up the corporate ladder, and even a narrower skill set.

Reinvent your career-advancement strategy and stay competitive with the following six tips:

  1. You never know when a great job opportunity might come your way; therefore a well-maintained resume is a must for staying competitive. Ensure the dust never settles on your  resume  by updating it frequently with your experiences and achievements. You may even consider refreshing the layout or design of the document. 
  1. Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking or speech anxiety, is something  74 percent  of people suffer from. Far too many professionals avoid public speaking at all costs due to their fear. But fine-tuning your presentation skills is a pivotal aspect of all many professionals’ careers, from entry-level to CEO. Never give up on improving your presentation and public speaking skills, both inside and outside of your workplace. 
  1. Each position you hold provides a valuable chance to learn and grow within your career. For instance, if you’re just starting out as an analyst, go out of your way to immerse yourself as far into the job as possible. Spend time gaining valuable insight from your manager and coworkers, attend every internal professional development activity, and eat, sleep, and breathe your role. 
  1. Self-improvement is a must for your gaining a competitive edge in your career. Go the extra mile by letting your boss know about a particular skill set or aspect of your role you’re looking to improve upon. They will likely be glad to help you grow — and may even put you on specific projects to get you there faster. 
  1. It’s human nature to do what comes easy. In fact, you may not even realize you’re avoiding the things that challenge you the most. Take a moment to think of a few of the more challenging aspects of your current job or field. Consider why you’re avoiding these areas and ask yourself whether you should continue to dodge them or meet them head-on so you can improve. You may even want to create a personal list of goals to ensure you follow through.
  1. A company is only as successful as its employees. Show your interest in the mission and vision of your firm by taking an active interest in improving things from the inside, out. Discuss your ideas with your boss or the management team. They’re certain to respect your interest; it will likely establish you as an employee who’s much more than just a “worker bee.”

The more effort you put into staying competitive, the more likely you’ll be to experience long-term success.

How are you staying ahead of the pack? Share your tips in the comments below.


Skiddy von Stade is the founder and CEO of  OneWire , the leading career site for finance professionals. Skiddy is also the host of Open Door — an exclusive interview series with influential leaders across the financial services sector and beyond. Connect with Skiddy and OneWire on  Facebook Twitter , and  LinkedIn .



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