Networking, interviewing, negotiating a raise—practice makes perfect yields improvement. But the career advice that works for one person (or one profession) may be total garbage for another. Still, in the ten years (!) we’ve been covering the job market and all the nuanced ways to navigate it, we’ve picked up a handful of tips that have been our fail-safe no matter the boss. Here, in celebration of PureWow’s tenth anniversary, the career advice we keep coming back to over and over again.
1. Never Limit Yourself to Your Job Description
Advice imparted to us by the genius “power twins” Tricia and Antoinette Clarke: “The number one toxic behavior at work is when you follow your own job description.” In other words, you may have been hired to do x, y and z, but unless you regularly challenge yourself to go above and beyond what’s expected of you (try m, n and q!) you won’t see growth and progress long-term. “It’s about being proactive versus reactive. You can’t get too comfortable,” the Clarkes explain.
How to get started? Chat with your supervisor or a colleague about something in your organization that’s falling through the cracks—then come up with one way you can help, even if it’s not part of your job description.
2. Everyone Needs a ‘Brag Sheet’
A brag sheet is a running list of your biggest and brightest professional accomplishments, which you can whip out both during the big talks (your annual review) and any time you want to give an update on your workload (a coffee date with your former co-worker). “Even if you only spend 15 minutes a week [working on it], that’s much easier than trying to rely on your memory to conjure up every success you’ve recently had,” explains Meredith Fineman, author of Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion.
What goes on your sheet? Maybe it’s a PowerPoint presentation that you knocked out of the park. Maybe it’s another happy customer who promised they’d be back. Whatever the achievement, jot it down. That way, it’s ready to pull up and wield as needed.
3. A Two-Page Resumé Is Actually OK
Ready to have your world rocked? If you’re in the market for a position that’s senior level, you no longer have to stress about cramming your resumé onto a single page. According to a survey conducted by ResuméGo, recruiters are 2.9 times as likely to prefer two-page resumés when it comes to reviewing candidates for managerial-level jobs. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be succinct. It’s more that once you’ve downsized the font, tweaked the margins and cherry-picked every word on the page, it’s completely acceptable to spill over onto the next.
4. You Don’t Have to Name a Salary to Get the One You Want
If you see “salary requirements” on a job application, don’t hesitate to answer with “negotiable.” If it comes up during an actual interview, try answering the hiring manager’s question with a question. “Say, ‘What is budgeted for the role?’ says Maria Dunn, head of people and culture at Managed By Q, a company that builds tools for workplaces that help improve the office experience. (A lot of times, the interviewer already has a sense and can share that info with you.)
Additionally, if you do give a number, it’s OK to go back later with adjustments. Simply say something like, “Now that I have a better understanding of the responsibilities for this position, I feel that $X is more in line with what I should make,’” advocates Chandra Turner, CEO of the Talent Fairy.
5. Build an ‘Inner Circle’ of Career Confidantes
You need a work wife. You need a colleague—past or present—who always tells it like it is. You need someone who is your ultimate cheerleader…even when you kinda mess up. Basically, the long-term secret to success isn’t a single mentor, but a board of advisors you can call and lean on, depending on the type of advice you need. With a group like that in your back pocket, there’s almost nothing that come between you and the career of your dreams.