Have a long-term plan
Whether or not you are seeking employment right now or have been employed for a while, start a journal and detail what your long-term career ambitions are.
Constantly review and edit your plans. It is okay for your plans to change. As you progress with your career, with time and experience you are exposed to new conditions and it is likely that your career ambitions will change too.
It is more important to have a plan that you are constantly steering towards, than to not have a plan at all.
Overcome the fear of public speaking
The sooner in your career that you can overcome the fear of public speaking, the sooner you will be able to progress to more senior leadership roles.
Volunteer for leadership positions
Outside of your employment, join social and community clubs and volunteer for leadership positions.
Whether or not you are currently in a leadership position, holding such volunteer roles will teach you invaluable skills of working within teams and inspiring groups of people.
Invest in your continuous education
Whilst a company might invest in your career and development – do not let this be your only source of learning. From a young age start your own collection of career, business, and leadership books.
Subscribe to free online journals, research papers, and thought leadership articles. Keep abreast of latest innovations, methodologies and ways of doing business – this is how you stay relevant within your career.
Build your online CV
It is no longer relevant to only have a hard-copy CV. Recruiters, potential employers, business partners and stakeholders also cross-check your on-line presence.
So keep your profile on face-book and other similar social websites clean. Also maintain a professional and consistent profile on business networks like, Linked In.
Finally be aware that any comment or reply you make on-line, could also appear against your name in a “Google Search.”
Make friends in the recruitment industry
At an early stage in your career, befriend at least one recruitment agent.
On a yearly basis go out together and meet for coffee. Let him or her know where you are in your career. Use the opportunity to also learn about insights and changes that are going on within your industry and locality.
Develop networking skills
Build a network of people around you: vertically and horizontally; and internally and externally.
Don’t be a ‘lone-ranger.” By having a strong network of people around you, you will be able to progress with your career and develop your skills faster than if you were to do it on your own.
Whatever you think your title, academic qualification or area of specialism is – it is not.
Remember that you are always first a salesman, marketing your skills and abilities to the people around you and the world at large.
If you are unable to self-promote yourself, you might end up waiting for a long time until someone eventually does.
Read both local and international newspapers, journals and magazines. Keep abreast of news around the world. Get intrigued with business and leadership trends around the world and what factors make leading companies successful.
If there is a shift in the way businesses are being run and how people within companies are being managed, it is highly likely that these shifts will impact your part of the world soon.
Staying ahead of these shifts, will keep you ahead of your career curve.
Virtuous cycle of learning
As soon as you master a new skill, technical ability or task – teach and train at least one more person on how to master it too.
This will instill mentorship and coaching skills within you. These are important skills to becoming a leader.
Only once you are able to delegate ‘lower level’ skills, will you be able to move on to more ‘higher level’ skills.