The 5 people you need in your career

26th July 2019

Ever heard the saying ‘It’s not what you know but who you know’? When it comes to supercharging your career, this definitely rings true.

Here we look at the five people to surround yourself with who are most likely to help you get to where you want to be.

1 The inspiration

Knowing someone who’s just a few steps ahead of you in terms of career progression can be a killer tool in keeping you focused on your aims.

It doesn’t matter whether you know them personally, or just follow their progress from afar. They may not even be in the same industry as you.

What’s important is that you view them as a high-performer and find that inspirational (rather than a cause for jealousy or rivalry). Tracking the moves they make in their career means you can watch them doing the work you hope to do yourself in the future – and see a clear path to get there too.

2 The mentor

We’ve written before about the power of having a mentor to guide you in your career, and they really can be the key to unlocking your superpowers.

It’s not just about getting a fresh perspective from someone senior who you respect and trust. Regular meet ups with a mentor will also help you develop strengths you might not have realised you possess, show you how to work on your weaknesses, and give you a chance to talk through any niggling issues away from your team.

Overall, the right mentor will be a great person to learn a lot from in so many ways.

3 The workplace buddy

As most of us spend more time at work than at home, it goes without saying that the social aspect of work is so important.

Getting on with colleagues can make the difference between enjoying and dreading your job. Plus, it turns out that having friends in your career is crucial to success. The happier you are, the better you’ll perform in your role.

In particular, a real ally – someone you utterly trust and can rely on to be on your side – can be a real asset. From knowing you have someone to talk to honestly about whatever comes up, to acting as early warning system if they hear anything that could impact on you, to generally ‘having your back’ at work… the list goes on.

4 The rising star

Surrounding yourself with people who will be able to help you is definitely a career-friendly move. But what also counts is being able to pay it forward. So identify a rising star – crucially who’s a rung or so below you in seniority – and see how you can help them.

Aside from the obvious fact that you’ll be giving someone a hand in their career, there are some benefits for you too. This kind of relationship can help you realise how much you know about your company, or sector, or subject matter. Plus, it gives you a chance to practice management and mentoring skills – very useful if you have your eye on a future leadership role.

5 The recruiter

OK, it might not be a huge surprise that at Nine to Five we feel you should have a good recruitment consultant in your network.

But even if you don’t have immediate plans to leave your current role, it’s great to keep in regular touch.

Recruitment agencies know what’s going on in your sector – including salary trends – and crucially often have access to jobs that haven’t come on the market yet. They can also help you pinpoint any extra skills or experience you might need to reach for a new opportunity.

As we know, hard work and focus are vital ingredients in success. But so are the right people – including those who can focus your mind on your next move.

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