Set Yourself Up For Success


Upskilling: What Is It and How It Can Help You

Upskilling is the process of adding new competencies to an existing skill set. Employers may upskill staff through corporate training programs in order to gain a more proficient workforce. Workers may upskill themselves via continuing education, certification, and private training.

How To Upskill

Upskilling builds on your current proficiencies through training, education, or on-the-job learning. Unlike reskilling, which involves learning an entirely new skill set, upskilling adds to the knowledge you already possess.

Major employers including Walmart, Verizon, and Marriott make heavy investments in upskilling and reskilling programs. Many employer-sponsored programs focus on hard skills like coding, cloud computing, and digital marketing. But soft skills are also in demand—Verizon’s Skill Forward program focuses on communication and teamwork, as well as technical skills. In a ZipRecruiter survey, 93% of employers said that soft skills play a critical role in their hiring decisions.

You can also upskill yourself on your own, taking continuing education classes, participating in internships, or completing a certification. Upskilling can help you become better at your job, earn a promotion, or adapt to new challenges in your industry. It can also help you future-proof your career!

Rapidly evolving industries mean that even workers who stay in their current jobs will need to add to their skill sets in order to stay current.

Upskilling Example

Let’s say that you’re a software developer. You have a bachelor’s degree in computer and information technology and several years of experience designing and developing software to suit users’ needs.

You like your job, which allows you to use your creativity and problem-solving skills to help design new solutions to challenging issues. But your ultimate career goal is to become a chief technology officer, which may require you to earn an MBA and gain experience as a computer and information systems manager.

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communication styles

What’s Your Communication Style in the Workplace?

Wouldn’t it be a dream to run a highly productive business where there’s little to no drama? Of course! That sounds freaking awesome…and impossible, right? Wrong.

The key to a highly successful, low drama business is effective, intentional communication. You’ve got to make it a priority—and part of your company culture. Seriously. As the quality of your communication goes up, the amount of frustration your team feels goes down. They can focus on the right things, build greater trust in one another, create an amazing customer experience, and get more work done—aka all the ingredients for a successful (and profitable) business. And all of that starts with knowing your communication style.

But figuring out how to build trust through your communication style can feel like swimming through a sea of muck at first—slow, hard, and maybe even a little stinky. But whether you lead a business of five team members or 500, it’s up to you to understand the four main types of communication styles. Then you can use the best style to set the stage for a culture of listening—one that makes your team feel heard and open to sharing. 

Communication Styles Defined

A communication style is the way someone talks to and interacts with others. When it comes to your style, are you large and in charge, tight-lipped and soft-spoken, or somewhere in between? Both your business communication style (how you interact professionally) and your personal communication style (how you interact outside of work) show up in the way you write, speak and act. And these styles are influenced by your personality, degree of self-awareness, and confidence level.

These are the four main types of communication styles we’ll unpack:

  • Passive
  • Aggressive
  • Passive aggressive
  • Assertive

All of us use one style the most, but we can see any of these styles rise to the surface—depending on the situation and what buttons are pushed. The goal is for you to build the habit of using assertive communication even in moments when you want to communicate in a different, less effective way.

Passive Communication Style

On the surface, the passive communication style looks like a neutral attitude about a topic or situation—as if you don’t have a strong opinion or that you’re willing to let whatever happens happen. One more note about passive communicators–they don’t actively look for attention. Most dread confrontation—so they defer to others in uncomfortable situations and for decision-making. But here’s the thing: If you’re a leader, being passive isn’t an option. Leaders lead.

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5 LinkedIn Tips To Set You Up For Success

LinkedIn has been around for a while now, so we won’t bore you with all the obvious optimization LinkedIn tips.

Yes, you should have a high-resolution profile image. Of course, you should write a compelling summary. Without a doubt, list all your relevant job experience. However, let’s go deeper…

Below, we outline pivotal LinkedIn tips and tricks you’ve (likely) never heard before. These tips have the potential to grow your brand, boost sales, expand your connections, and accelerate your career.

Top LinkedIn Tips To Implement

1. Bump Up Your LinkedIn Social Selling Index

Have you heard of LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index (SSI)? If the answer is “no,” don’t worry—plenty of people have no clue this tool even exists.

You can find your SSI in the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It measures your social selling skills and execution by looking at 4 primary components:

  • Establishing your professional brand: Complete your profile. Fill out every single thing on the page. Summary, experience, education, groups, recommendations, skills—everything. Next, start regularly posting engaging posts and publishing LinkedIn articles.
  • Finding the right people: LinkedIn wants to see you using Lead Builder to find people. They also want to see you saving leads—saving leads lets them send you insights so that you can take action.
  • Engaging with insights: LinkedIn wants to see you engaging on the platform and following their recommendations. Sometimes, the platform will prompt you to update part of your profile or to publish a post. Follow these suggestions, and LinkedIn will be happy with your effort. Also, ensure you answer all your messages. Even if it’s for a job you don’t care about, at least mark the box “Not interested” to show LinkedIn that you’re active and playing a part in the community.
  • Building relationships: There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about building your connections on LinkedIn. The wrong way is to start blasting anyone and everyone with a connection request. The right way is to be thoughtful about who you connect with and to send personal messages in your connection request. LinkedIn wants to see a high acceptance rate for your connection requests, meaning most people are connecting instead of rejecting.

Each of these components is worth 25 points, so your SSI score can be as high as 100. Why does this seemingly arbitrary score matter?

Well, LinkedIn cares. Whether they admit it or not, LinkedIn is factoring this score into how well the algorithm works in your favor.

Improve your score, and LinkedIn will show your content to more people. The platform will also recommend your profile to more job recruiters and those looking to network with new individuals.

In short, if you do what LinkedIn says and boost your SSI score, you’ll do better on the platform.

2. Explore Job Transitions with Career Explorer

Another tool most users are unaware of is Career Explorer. Career Explorer helps you uncover potential career paths and real job titles based on your skills. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Select Your City: Choose where you live or work.
  2. Enter a Job: Select the job you’re interested in.
  3. Analyze Skills and Skills Overlap: Look at what skills are necessary for the job. Then, look at the skills overlap between your selected jobs to see what skills you have already and what you need to build to transition.
  4. Find Jobs and Connections on LinkedIn: Click to find current job openings for those positions, or find potential connections with those job titles on LinkedIn.

3. Engage with Every Message, Job Request, and Connection Invite

LinkedIn wants to see you engaging with the platform. If a salesperson or recruiter uses InMail credits to send you a message, LinkedIn wants to see you answer—even if the answer is “no.”

Whenever you get a job request or connection invite, answer it. If you’re not interested in the job, politely decline the request. If someone sends you a connection invite, don’t let it sit unanswered in your “My Network” tab. “Ignore” or “Accept” it.

When you engage with the community on LinkedIn, LinkedIn boosts your profile. You now get more reach, more connection exposure, and more profile visits.

Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself.

Post consistently on LinkedIn every day for a month. Finish each day at inbox zero—no unanswered invites, no unanswered messages. Watch your LinkedIn performance head up and to the right.

4. Capitalize on Your Cover Image Real Estate

Most LinkedIn users understand the value of a good profile image—it’s the first (and often only) thing people will see on the platform. Whenever you’re publishing posts, liking, or commenting, other users see your headshot.

However, the cover image is the next best piece of real estate. It’s the first thing (even before your profile image) users will see when they visit your profile page. It takes up an incredible amount of real estate at the top of your page, but many people fail to take advantage of it.

At the bare minimum, change it to something that represents you. Anything is better than the default image that screams, “I don’t care.”

If you really want to kick things up a notch, add some design and a call to action (CTA) to your image.

5. Search Like a Pro

LinkedIn’s search abilities are robust if you know how to use them. You can use quite a few modifiers to narrow down your search and find exactly what you need.

Here are a few:

  • Quotation Marks: Find an exact phrase by putting quotation marks around your words. For example, “Founder.”
  • AND: Type “AND” in all capital letters between two or more terms to search for profiles that include multiple terms. For example, “Founder” AND “Tech.”
  • OR: Type “OR” in all capital letters between two or more terms to get results from profiles with either term. For example, “Founder” OR “Entrepreneur” OR “Co-Founder.”
  • Parentheses: If you want to get really fancy, you can combine modifiers to narrow down your search. For example, Founder AND (“Tech OR SaaS”)
  • NOT: Type “NOT” in all capital letters before the terms you want to be excluded. For example, “Founder” NOT CEO.

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How To Learn To Love Networking

“I hate networking.” We’ve all heard someone in our life say this. They tell us that networking makes them feel uncomfortable and phony—even dirty. Although some people have a natural passion for it—namely, the extroverts who love and thrive on social interaction—many understandably see it as brown-nosing, exploitative, and inauthentic.

But in today’s world, networking is a necessity. A mountain of research shows that professional networks lead to more job and business opportunities, broader and deeper knowledge, improved capacity to innovate, faster advancement, and greater status and authority. Building and nurturing professional relationships also improves the quality of work and increases job satisfaction.

The Harvard Business Review studied 165 lawyers at a large North American law firm, for example, and they found that their success depended on their ability to network effectively both internally (to get themselves assigned to choice clients) and externally (to bring business into the firm). Those who regarded these activities as distasteful and avoided them had fewer billable hours than their peers.

Fortunately, their research shows that an aversion to networking can be overcome. Here are four strategies to help people change their mindset and learn to love networking.

Learning To Love Networking

  1. Focus on Learning
    Most people have a dominant motivational focus—what psychologists refer to as either a “promotion” or a “prevention” mindset. Those in the former category think primarily about the growth, advancement, and accomplishments that networking can bring them, while those in the latter see it as something they are obligated to take part in for professional reasons.

Consider a work-related social function you feel obliged to attend. You can tell yourself, “I hate these kinds of events. I’m going to have to put on a show and schmooze and pretend to like it.” Or you can tell yourself, “Who knows—it could be interesting. Sometimes when you least expect it, you have a conversation that brings up new ideas and leads to new experiences and opportunities.”

If you are an introvert, you can’t simply will yourself to be extroverted, of course. But everyone can choose which motivational focus to bring to networking. Concentrate on the positives—how it’s going to help you boost the knowledge and skills that are needed in your job—and the activity will begin to seem much more worthwhile.

  1. Identify Common Interests
    The next step in making networking more palatable is to think about how your interests and goals align with those of people you meet and how that can help you forge meaningful working relationships. Northwestern University’s Brian Uzzi calls this the shared activities principle. “Potent networks are not forged through casual interactions but through relatively high-stakes activities that connect you with diverse others,” he explains. (See “How to Build Your Network,” HBR, December 2005.) Numerous studies in social psychology have demonstrated that people establish the most collaborative and longest-lasting connections when they work together on tasks that require one another’s contributions. Indeed, research that Tiziana from HBR conducted with INSEAD’s Miguel Sousa Lobo showed that this “task interdependence” can be one of the biggest sources of positive energy in professional relationships.

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What’s The Difference Between A Letter Of Interest And A Cover Letter?

Difference Between a Letter of Interest and a Cover Letter
A letter of interest and a cover letter have much in common — they are both letters that job seekers send to employers in hopes of obtaining employment.

But there are key differences you should be aware of, such as the circumstances when one or the other is appropriate, and how exactly they should be written.

What Is a Cover Letter vs. a Letter Of Interest?
The differences between a cover letter and a letter of interest are pretty simple.

A cover letter is a one-page letter sent with a resume when applying for an open job that is publicly advertised in a help-wanted ad or some other kind of job listing.

A letter of interest is a one-page letter sent to an employer that is not advertising an open job you want — but you really want to work for that employer anyway, that’s why another name for it is an expression of interest. You’re writing to let the employer know what skill sets you have that appear to match its needs, and to inquire whether there might be any openings that match your qualifications.

How To Write A Letter Of Interest Vs. A Cover Letter
The idea behind a cover letter is pretty straightforward. It provides a personal appeal for the job, showcasing your character, offering reasonable arguments regarding your value as a professional and aims to connect with the hiring manager on a human level.

The letter of interest, however, has one additional element in its writing – a direct offer to take you on as an employee, with you as the initiator of this procedure.

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No Response After An Interview? Here’s What You Need To Do…

Receiving no response after an interview can be confusing, leaving many candidates wondering whether they should initiate contact or keep waiting. Following-up after an interview reaffirms your enthusiasm for the position and reopens the dialog between you and the interviewer. However, responding in the right way is essential for these positive results. Let’s discuss the right way to proceed if you get no response after an interview.

Why Don’t Employers Respond?

Usually, you can consider you have received no response after an interview when the interviewer does not contact you within the timeframe specified at your last meeting. You could receive no response after a final interview or be left waiting for a call back after a preliminary interview.

Steps If You Get Not Response After An Interview

If you hear nothing back after your interview, taking proactive steps can resolve your confusion and ensure your job search progresses. You should take these steps shortly after the timeframe specified by the interviewer has passed. If the interviewer does not suggest when you may hear from them, wait at least a week before initiating the following steps:

1. Email The Interviewer

Sending a follow-up email is a great way to re-establish contact with the interviewer since they can answer it at any time, unlike a telephone call, so it does not seem intrusive. Following-up in line with the timeframe they gave you also shows you are professional and dedicated to pursuing the position.

Your email should be brief, with just one or two paragraphs. It should also be clear and polite. If you have previously corresponded via email, reply to the last message rather than starting a new email thread, so the interviewer can easily refer back to your email history. Proofread your email for errors before sending it to convey professionalism.

If your email goes unanswered, you can send another follow-up email to confirm the employer received the first one. This should be even briefer than your first follow-up email with no more than a single paragraph.

2. Email The Head Of The Department

If you do not receive a response from the interviewer after several attempts, try emailing the head of the department you interviewed for. As this person has a direct interest in filling the position, they may be more willing to respond to your queries. This email should be brief, with just one or two paragraphs, straightforward and polite. It should have a more formal tone than your previous follow-up emails as you may have not met them in your interviewer.

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Critical Corporate Value: Timely Responsiveness

No doubt, you care about our business and the image you put forth for your customers. But what about prospective employees? What do they think of your company? Have you ever considered the possibility that your level of timely responsiveness to job applicants plays a role in how your business is perceived – and thus, how well you recruit and hire top-quality staff?

It’s no secret that we’re in an employee job market right now. Companies are desperate for help. And no doubt hiring is a big concern for you. But do you prioritize calling back job applicants, scheduling interviews, or updating candidates in the pipeline? Effective communication is an essential value every company must commit to. But even companies that understand this often overlook responsive communication when dealing with potential hires.

The Cost of Neglecting Timely Responsiveness

If following up with prospective employees quickly and consistently is not a top priority for your organization, you could be losing out big. Here are a few reasons responsiveness in business matters:

  • Money: When you fail to move a new hire along or lose out on a top prospect, there are associated opportunity costs like bad hires, open positions, etc.
  • Branding: Because your track record for timely responsiveness will get around, your reputation as an employer of choice is at stake. Failure to respond to candidate questions can signal a lack of respect and damage your recruiting credibility long-term.
  • Blowback: The way you handle job prospects through the application, interview, and negotiation processes often determines how you will be treated. If you find a well-qualified candidate, a great way to minimize the risk of being ghosted by that candidate is timely updates and staying in touch.

Timely Communication Matters

While it may seem harmless to push an email back to next week or drop a resume through the cracks on occasion, it’s not without consequence. Data released by interview scheduling SAAS provider Cronofy shows a lack of timely communication can actually be a significant driver in poor hiring outcomes.

A job search can be a very uncertain and stressful time for professionals. It helps reassure top talent when recruiters or hiring managers reach out regularly, even if only to say, “We’re still waiting on an interview time,” or, “The hiring team is still reviewing your qualifications.” Providing that contact and feedback builds trust in your hiring process, the company, and the decision to pursue this job.

When companies neglect timely responsive communication, statistics show, candidates will go elsewhere. According to Cronofy:

  • 62% of professionals in senior positions report having abandoned an interview journey because of frustration with the interview scheduling process.
  • The interview scheduling experience directly corelates to a prospect’s perception of your company.
  • A full two-thirds of US applicants expect to hear back about an interview within just one week of applying.
  • 18% of job applicants report responsiveness as the top frustration with the hiring process.

Putting Responsiveness into Action

At Building Careers, we’ve seen firsthand the power of implementing timely and responsive communication in recruiting top talent. While partnering with a recruiting firm is critical to effective hiring (especially in such a competitive market), we’ve observed many if not most recruiters ghost candidates at some point in the process.

As such, simply touching base with candidates throughout the week and addressing concerns early on is a clear differentiator in our field. Quality professionals know when they are appreciated. And they know when they’re not. So, when your recruiting partner or hiring team practices timely responsiveness, they set your brand apart from the others.

As a leading recruiter for the CRE space in Southern California, we’ve seen our network and credibility grow among commercial real estate’s top talent. We believe strongly in the values of open communication, constant communication, and timely communication. As a result, our contacts have come to expect real-time feedback and daily check-ins. And because we also emphasize internal responsiveness, our team is more current and helpful along the way.

Hiring rockstar talent that will take your company to the next level means implementing a comfortable hiring experience. And that hiring experience is only as good as its communication. Any friction in this process will negatively impact the potential hire’s perception of your organization and make it more likely you will lose them to a competitor. Alternately, implementing timeliness and responsiveness in all communications will ensure the hiring journey is smooth, positive, and effective.

Define Transformational Leadership

Leadership is scary and hard. But leading your team to achieve big, daring goals is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do—if you do it well. And that starts with deciding to level up in how you lead. Just like there’s no magic pill for weight loss or better finances, there’s no magic pill to being a leadership expert. You just put one courageous foot in front of the other, day in and day out, getting better and stronger as you go. And using the transformational leadership style will help you shift your mindset to focusing on your team’s ability (not just yours) to get those big, daring wins.

You may be thinking that transformational leadership sounds like corporate mumbo jumbo. However, it’s anything but that. Imagine drama and bureaucracy in your business decreasing so productivity, innovation and creativity can take center stage. Imagine a team of go-getters who are motivated to win every day and enjoy going to work—that’s the culture transformational leadership can create for your business. As you inspire your team to think and work beyond themselves for the greater good, you are on your way to becoming a bona fide transformational leader. Is this really possible? Absolutely.

Define Transformational Leadership

In the words of the Transformer Optimus Prime, “Autobots, transform and roll out!” If only transformation was that simple for us non-autobots, right? But it’s possible to spur on change—and it starts with your leadership.

The idea of a style of leadership that transforms team members, businesses and the world was first introduced in the 1970s by sociologist J.V. Downton. The theory caught fire later that decade when James MacGregor Burns, a leadership expert and historian, wrote Leadership. In this book, James describes transformational leadership as a style where “leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality.” This style is based on a leader who has built trust and respect with their team—and because of that, they can influence their team to work harder and think smarter to achieve a common goal.

James put a spotlight on a leadership style that increases loyalty, commitment and the ability to accomplish way more than the company and team members thought they could. So, what does a transformational leader look like?

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How To Effectively Delegate Tasks

All managers and leaders must master the art to effectively delegate tasks. Understanding how and when to allocate responsibility to others is essential in maintaining a high level of productivity, both on a personal and organizational level. Delegating tasks is also essential for effective leadership.

To learn how to effectively delegate tasks is to build a cohesive and effective team that can meet deadlines. Moreover, knowing when and how to delegate work will reduce your workload, thus improving your well-being at work and boosting your job satisfaction. Unfortunately, many leaders are unsure how to delegate properly or are hesitant to do so.

In this guide, you will discover what delegation really entails, how delegating tasks benefits your team, and how to assign tasks effectively.

The Significance Of Delegating Tasks

A good leader knows how to delegate. When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more on a daily basis.

Effective delegation also promotes productivity and good time management within a team by drawing on the existing skill set of its members and allowing them to develop new knowledge and competencies along the way. The result is a more flexible team that can share roles when the need arises.

When you are willing to delegate, you promote an atmosphere of confidence and trust. Your actions send a clear signal: as a leader, you trust your subordinates to achieve desired outcomes. As a result, they will come to think of you as a likeable and effective leader who respects their skills and needs.

Delegation isn’t about barking orders and hoping that your staff falls in line. A manager’s job is to get the very best from those under their supervision and, in doing so, maximize productivity and profit.

Careful delegation helps to identify and capitalize on the unique strengths and weaknesses of the team members. Delegation also boosts employees’ engagement as it proves that the managers are interested in drawing on their talents.

Why Are People Afraid Of Delegating Tasks?

Delegation boosts productivity, but not all managers are willing or able to delegate.[4] Why? Here’re some common reasons:

  • They resent the idea that someone else may get the credit for a project.
  • They are willing to delegate in principle but are afraid their team won’t be able to handle more responsibility.
  • They suspect that their staff is already overworked and feel reluctant to increase their burden.
  • They suspect that it’s simpler and quicker just to do a task themselves.
  • They dislike the idea of letting go of tasks they enjoy doing.
  • They fear that if they delegate responsibility, their manager will conclude that they can’t handle their workload.

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7 Tips for Career Success in CRE

So, you’ve chosen a career in commercial real estate and want to make the most of it. How do you climb that ladder and become the best in your league? How do you ensure career success in your current CRE field?

Regardless of what specialty or focus your career path is in, commercial real estate is a demanding field that requires dedication, commitment, and growth. It is crucial for CRE professionals to be ever-learning, ever-advancing, and ever-evolving for maximum career success and advancement.

Some of these principles hold true for whatever career path you take. Others are especially important in CRE. If you’ve made a commitment to succeed, here are seven tips to help you get the most out of your career.

1. Come Prepared to Learn

Like most professions, working in CRE means learning a variety of skills, information sets, and best practices. But much of what makes you successful now might change in coming years. Therefore, it is imperative that you are prepared to learn on the job, even after you have become well-established in your field.

Continuous learning has been directly tied to success on the job. It enables you to adapt and become multifunctional, engaged, and prepared for the unexpected. In the long run, it positions you to excel in your career and be promoted in time.

2. Cultivate Better Communication

One of the keys to career success in any field is effective business communication. Proactively and effectively communicating with your direct reports and superiors facilitates a more functional workplace and healthier relationships. These in turn directly contribute to your success. Some keys to improving your communication include:

  • Use clarity
  • Err on the side of over communication
  • Be open and honest
  • Emphasize a communication culture

3. Achieve Specific Goals

Especially in the world of commercial real estate, you are not paid just to clock in and clock out. Your career advancement hinges on your ability to identify and achieve goals central to your company’s mission. Your employer will recognize your profitability if you focus on achieving these goals, both long term and short term. And your career will benefit from it.

4. Demonstrate Initiative

If you want to actually go places in your career, take initiative. Your growth, adaptability, work relationships, and overall success depend on you. It’s up to you then to demonstrate initiative to succeed in your career. Some ways to do this include:

  • Ask for guidance
  • Offer help
  • Volunteer
  • Educate yourself
  • Be a cost saver

5. Manage Up

When you manage your boss instead of waiting to be managed, you will become far more valuable and likely to succeed in your career. Really impress your boss by getting to know him or her, avoiding office politics, and bringing solutions rather than just problems to the table. When you are detailed and proactive in solving problems for your managers, your career success will be inevitable.

6. Evaluate Yourself

Rather than waiting for your annual evaluation, be your own evaluator! Identify objectives and goals, and then create a task list to achieve them. At the end of each week, fill out a form or work diary to rate your progress on each of these tasks and overall goals.

You might even consider showing these work logs to your supervisors to see if they agree with your real-time self-evaluations. And doing so will also impress upon them your dedication to progressing and improving in your career.

7. Act

Talk comes cheap. There’s a saying managers used once upon a time: “Show me the baby, don’t tell me about the labor pains.” While this antiquated quip may sound cold, what’s beneath it is an inherent valuation on putting feet to your plans and ideas. When you do what you say, it goes a long way towards building your credibility and long-term prospects for success. When you put in the effort to make real gains, it translates into respect and meaningful contributions at work.

Generating real and tangible career success in CRE has so much more to do with being proactive than being lucky. By following these basic principles and tips, you can climb the ladder and achieve your career goals. It doesn’t matter where you start or what adversity you encounter. You can find fulfillment at work and create the career trajectory you want.

It’s entirely up to you!