Building wealth starts with your primary source of money: your employment income. Obviously some jobs pay more than others, but your future career is mostly under your control and doesn’t always depend on an expensive education or having the perfect connections. Anyone can progress from job to job until they reach a career that they enjoy and that earns them a good living. Unfortunately many people just don’t know where to start. This article will give you some basic qualities and actions that will help you advance, as well as an example case study of how someone would progress to a good, well paying career.
Qualities of Success
– Continually learn new skills and upgrade existing skills.
– Perform better than expected at your given tasks.
– Don’t have a “Not my job” mentality.
– Willingness to move to a different position or employer to follow or seek better opportunities.
– Very good written and spoken communication skills.
– Effective when working alone or within a team.
– Leadership skills and positive attitude.
– An understanding that having a given education or qualification does not entitle you to a certain job.
These are just some examples of qualities that help people succeed in their careers. You have to be constantly improving yourself and must be willing to go where the opportunities are. I’ve known some skilled people who stay at a dead-end job because they are just not motivated to hunt for something better, or they think a better job will fall from the sky. Nor will you get that dream job fresh out of school. The typical equation means that your education(or skill set) plus your experience, plus your attitude will determine where you fit into the corporate ladder. But nothing is guaranteed except for the fact that if you don’t work at it, you won’t get anywhere.
Case Study: A Sample Career Path
The following is a simple example of the career path of a fictional person we’ll call Jane. This will illustrate how you can improve your resume slowly over time and move to better and better jobs.
1) Jane is in her early teens and makes spare change babysitting, mowing lawns and delivering papers. She is just about to start high school and decides she needs to start saving for post secondary education, although she doesn’t know what she wants to do. Jane makes her first resume with her small jobs listed under experience along with some volunteer work she has done selling tickets and running children’s activities. She adds the name of her elementary school from which she has graduated and a babysitting course she took to the education section of her resume and starts handing out resumes and asking relatives for any leads.
2) Jane gets a job with a friend of the family’s company cleaning the office and filing paper work on weekends. She stays at this job for 1 year. She adds it to her resume and updates the education section with her high school name and some classes she’s taking like math and English.
3) Jane gets a job at a local convenience store as a clerk. Her job includes cleaning and stocking shelves. Jane memorizes product names, locations and prices. She shows up on time every day and does an outstanding job. 1 year later she asks for and gets a promotion to cashier. Although she still makes close to minimum wage, she is now in a job of greater skill and trust and she works with money which is a fact she adds to her resume. She has all along been putting most of her wages into a savings account. She has worked full time for the last few summers.
4) In the later years of high school she discovers she enjoys her math and business classes and really likes the accounting course she took. She decides to pursue a book-keeping or maybe even an accounting career path. She re-does her resume to reflect this focus. In the final year of high school she gets even more serious about saving money and starts to look for an office job. She passes out resumes to local offices and watches for low level office positions.
5) Jane lands a filing room job at a local company by showing up dressed in business attire to her interview and conducting herself professionally. Her new job tasks involve filing, making photocopies, running errands and sorting the mail. She takes a slight pay cut from her cashier job to take this position.
6) Jane saves like crazy during her last year of high school and the summer following. She applies to a local college for a book-keeping course and lands a small scholarship for her volunteer work in the community. This combined with her savings will pay for school. She continues to work in the filing room for 2 years, all the while asking for and receiving more difficult duties and tasks requiring greater trust.
7) Jane adds her new in-progress book-keeping education and her current range of job responsibilities to her resume. When an office assistant at her company retires she applies for the job with great zeal and lands the job, receives training and a small pay increase. Her new tasks include answering phones, looking up customer account data, entering customer info into the computer and taking payments of customers who walk in the door. She continues to put her money toward her education and toward buying her first vehicle (she has previously used her parents’ car).
8) Jane is in her last year of college. Her duties have evolved to include posting customer payments to the billing system, calling customers who are over due, printing out invoices and mailing them, and entering new customers and services into the billing system. She has saved a few thousand dollars toward a car.
9) Jane graduates and buys a small used car with the money she has saved. She once again updates her resume and begins to look for a book-keeping job that offers training. Her first option is to look at her current employer but nothing is open there. After a year of looking she finally lands an assistant book-keeper job and receives training. After a year or two on the job the head book-keeper leaves and Jane moves into her job. Jane now makes enough to live on her own. She continues to save and considers going for her accountant certification.
10) Several years later Jane has passed her accountant certification and enjoys a well paying and challenging career.
This is just an example intended to get across a few very important facts. It’s important to know that your final career will come from a long journey. You’ll have to start small and constantly excel at your job and improve your skills. You also have to be willing to search out the next advancement. Even though Jane did not have an expensive education at an ivy-league college, she combined education with experience and a willingness to learn. She also looked at her current job and always tried to learn more and increase her duties to slowly get closer to her goal. She was even willing to take a small pay cut to get onto the right track. It’s also important to never burn bridges. Jane always gave her employers lots of notice when she left and asked them for a reference. It’s always a good idea to quit under positive terms.
It’s never too late to do what Jane did. You can get the skills and experience you need to work your way up. The key is to have the courage and motivation to do so. There’s no magic formula that successful people use. It’s all about having a plan and working hard at it.