I have been thinking recently if I am a Dinosaur. Have I not adapted to the times of the “new” ways of doing things? Are the professional rules and expectations I learned in my 20s and 30s still applicable? After much thought and consideration, I have concluded that without a doubt, the professional rules, etiquette and requirements are the same. Yes, new tools and technology makes us all more efficient, effective and accessible, but the unwritten business rules matter. It is up to younger professionals to learn them to ensure they are able to get the career opportunity and or career advancement they desire.
There are too many areas to cover in a short blog, but would like to focus on a few that will help professionals realize their career goals. Let’s start with the interview basics, cover job duties and job expectations as well as touch on little things that make a difference.
I am very old school when it comes to the interview process. I expect the communication from first point of contact to be professional. I also expect that candidates will be as flexible as possible when it comes to interview availability. Moreover, I expect the candidate to be thoroughly prepared and after the interview, receive an email from the candidate thanking me for the time to interview and to confirm interest in the position if applicable. I see too many responses from candidates using incorrect punctuation (you are not texting a friend), misspellings and inappropriate responses (one that comes to mind is a candidate that applied for a role and when I contacting him to interview, proceeded to ask questions about the job duties, pay scale, etc.). First professional rule of interviewing is be gracious and professional when invited to interview. Also, never reply to an interview request with your Skype interview availability (many candidates recently responded with their Skype interview availability which is inappropriate), unless asked for by the company. Use professional correspondence, be humble and be flexible with your interview availability. All of the cases where candidates have poor communication skills or responses never made it to the first interview.
Every job and profession has its basic requirements of the role. This could be administrative related, processes and or activities that must be completed. Depending on your profession and industry you are in, these can be mundane and possibly boring. Always ensure you get these done. These are the things you have full control over and if you are focused, can get done quickly each day. Do not decide on your own what you feel is important. Always get the basic requirements of your role completed. Sometimes missing small activities may seem irrelevant, but trust me, someone is always watching and they do matter; moreover, there could be someone hungrier ready to step into your role that will do everything that is required. Make sure you shine in all activities you do and you will get noticed! Don’t let someone else take your job or opportunities.
Understanding job expectations is absolutely key to building a long term successful career. If there are areas in your position that you struggle with, proactively approach your supervisor to discuss how to improve. Many jobs require a specific output and if your output is not up to expectations, it is your responsibility to gain the skills necessary to be affective. Never make excuses. Always be searching for solutions. Additionally, if you are struggling, make sure you are putting the time and energy in to gain the skill and or to be more productive. Nothing is sadder than watching a professional not meeting expectations of the role and then show up late for work, do not put the time in or are unwilling to do what is necessary to be more successful. All roles have a blue print for success. Know it, follow it and live it. Please remember this rule without fail. If you are not willing to commit yourself, your career will be short.
I have mentioned this in past posts, but make sure you shine in everything you do. Be in early ready to take on the day. Be the colleague that others trust and want to work with. Go the extra mile for clients or colleagues. Set a positive mood in your office or around your work space. Always raise your hand. Don’t complain, find solutions and most important, do everything in your power to over deliver. You will be the one others can reply on and your future will be bright. Going against the grain and feeling entitled is professional suicide. Be smart, work hard and you will succeed.
Dinosaurs. Yes, I know they are no longer around. However, in business, there are some basic rules that never die. If you can learn them and use them effectively to your advantage, you will stand out from the crowd, be more productive and have a more successful career and life.