Three Keys to Career Success

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I have been working in stereotypical big business for more than 6 years.  I even have my own little cubicle and receive the sort of memos you see in “Office Space”.  I have welcomed new employees and said farewell to the same ones a couple of years later.  I have watched employees that started around the same time as me advance in the company or move on to something else.  Although there may not be any hard and fast rules that would guarantee career success, there do seem to be a few key attributes that truly help.


Confidence helps a person knock an interview out of the park and then helps secure a place in the company as well.  There is a difference between false confidence like arrogance and actual confidence though.  The arrogant simply think they are always right and exude the confidence to match.  That works well in spurts but becomes an obvious liability in short order.

The people I have met that have been truly confident and backed it up have advanced exactly as they have wanted.  A certain coworker of mine, we’ll call her Jane, had all of the confidence but none of the knowledge when she started in my department.  She learned quickly and then used that limited knowledge and extreme confidence to transfer into a different department about 6 months after she started. 

Jane then got promoted within another year and ended up leaving the company entirely 6 months after that to follow better prospects.  Jane didn’t know more than anybody else or even work much harder than anybody else, but she exuded confidence out of every pore of her body.

Work Ethic

If you are willing to put in extra time and effort into everything you do, you will succeed.  A solid work ethic is usually recognized and appreciated in a company environment and is necessary for an entrepreneur.  I have met a ton of people that put in the bare minimum and go home.  They are not the ones I’ve seen get the promotions and they would not be able to succeed on their own unless they changed. 

I personally had an amazing work ethic when I started at my day job.  As I grew to hate the company, I toned down how much I put into it.  I now channel that above-and-beyond attitude into my online work instead.  It is much easier to have a strong work ethic when you are properly motivated to succeed.

Social Skills

Although I have met a few successful people with hardly any social skills, the majority of the truly successful seem to have a basic understanding of etiquette and communicate well with others.  When I look at the company I work for during the day, the vice presidents and managers are all well-spoken and are very good at holding the company line. 

In blogging, the uber-successful not only write well, but they hold the attention of thousands or millions of people every day.  Social skills make succeeding easier simply since a big part of success is how you deal with others.

I do believe there are a million ways to succeed in any career, but having the attributes above do seem to make it easier.

What other personality traits do you think help make a person successful?

{ 8 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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8 Responses to “Three Keys to Career Success”

  1. No Debt MBA says:

    Intelligence/content skills so you can actually get the job done!

  2. Shirley says:

    Loyalty and commitment are very broad terms, but both are essential to success in a career as most often they determine attitude.

  3. saladdin says:

    Sadly, social skills and personality are weighted more then you would expect. How someone “fits in” is highly regarded. Having to fake listen and fake care while workers/boss tell stories about their loser kids and pets is soul sucking but important part of the game.

  4. JamesV says:

    Generally I’ve always thought there should be a “People Skills 101” class, then 201 class, 301 class, etc, taught in all High Schools across America starting in around 9th grade. It could be part of the English/Communications ciriculuum. If people do not grow up in a home where “People/Communication” skills are taught, then where are they ever going to learn? I’m a prime example. I learned most of my People skills after college. Today I work in Customer Service and Account Management.

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