A famous 1960’s Broadway hit explained how anyone could succeed in business “without really trying.” The play won seven Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize in 1962 but included no real tips for making it in the corporate world. Nowadays, even though it’s true that you can succeed in business, the feat calls for plenty of trying along the way.
What does it take in this modern era to land and keep a job with a major firm? For starters, you’ll need top-notch speaking skills, a vast network, the right education, a skilled mentor and the right social skills for getting along with people in the workplace. Whether your specialty is accounting, management, marketing or tech, you’ll need a wide-ranging arsenal of skills to do well. Here’s a short summary of the tools it takes to rise in today’s professional business environment.
Practice Public Speaking Skills
Even techies and number crunchers need to speak well, even if it’s only for an initial interview. But modern company workers also have to give presentations, lead small-group discussions, report to superiors and create video tutorials for new hires. There was a time when certain types of people could get by without verbal skills. That era is over. It’s best to gain speaking skills as early in life as possible, either in high school or college. If you’re too late for that boat, try joining a community speaker’s club that helps professionals learn to deliver short and long talks in front of small groups.
Learn to Network
There’s no substitute for having a wide-range personal network in your back pocket. Begin collecting names, email addresses, and phone numbers of anyone who has the ability to help you push your career along the right path. Even if you’re just out of school and hunting for your first job, create a contact list and expand it as time goes by. You’ll find yourself going back to it often.
Get an MBA
It’s always wise to get as much specialized education as possible, but a Master’s in Business Administration is still the go-to degree for young workers who want to rise as quickly as possible. Fortunately, most cities have colleges with online or night MBA courses. This is a good example of the need to take out a student loan to cover the cost of education. Not only are the interest rates affordable, but a student loan will also give you the peace of mind that comes with not having to work an extra job or live on a shoestring in order to gain the credentials needed for success.
Find a Mentor
A mentor can offer you invaluable guidance and teach you lessons that you won’t learn in school. Don’t feel as though your mentor needs to be at the same company where you work. In some cases, it’s actually best to find someone who is not connected with your employer in any way. Try to set up short, weekly meetings so you can get the most out of the relationship.