Career Advice

Power Habits To Advance Your Career

Our habits, when they’re good ones, help build our lives, our careers and our successes.

Add even one positive habit and you can make a chain of changes to your life or your business. That is one of the messages in a new book, The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I’m reading the book by Duhigg, a New York Times reporter, and realizing the potential of adding just one good habit to your life.

The book devotes a chapter to a crucial habit for success: self-disciple or willpower. This habit leads to an ability to practice and improve skills, to focus and to respond appropriately. The book details how Starbucks trains its staff to develop the self-discipline so that even when they or their customers feel grumpy and upset, the staffer will respond with care.

Job seekers need power habits too, and they can learn them before or during their searches and use them throughout their career. Here then are three power habits that will help propel job seekers – and almost everyone else – to success:

1. Cultivate connections. You will thrive if you reinforce old friendships and add new relationships, said Ford Myers, an executive and career coach and author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.  “During the summer, most people are naturally more relaxed, convivial and generous in spirit. There is simply no better time to solidify existing relationships and forge new ones.”  Make this a habit by reaching out to two or three people every week – and set up a time for those calls, texts and letters to go out. It also works if you follow up with people in a way that expresses interest in them, and not just the job that’s open.

2. Develop a win-win approach. This “Think win/win” mindset comes from Steven R. Covey’s 7 Habits, and for those looking for a new employer, the first win must belong to the hiring manager or employer. “You must prove some added value that could push the company forward,” writes Selena Blue in a Marketing Sherpa blog post.  Understand how you will wow the hiring manager and help her win at her goals and objectives, and make sure you communicate that clearly throughout the hiring process.

3.  See the big picture. Understand the connections and direction. Take a step back and ask some extra questions so you understand why and how things are happening, and what’s likely to come next.  Employers want staff who are critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers. Even if you are seeking a job as a barista, it pays to understand the coffee shop chain’s mission and strategy.

Other habits worth considering are becoming a constant learner and Covey’s “put first things first” – know your mission and key roles in life and making time for them. These habits will serve almost anyone well, especially if they are paired with Duhigg’s willpower.

If you’ve developed other habits to help advance your career, share them below.