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Career advice is like shoes. You’ve got to try it on and walk around in it to see if it fits.
Dress for the job you want … Know everyone’s name … Ask questions when you don’t know something … There’s plenty of trite advice floating around. But what’s really going to help you?
For some insight, look to those who have achieved something substantial. Sometimes the advice is surprising. It may even sound counter intuitive. “Don’t make waves” might seem like commonsense when it comes to nailing your job, but it may also work against you.
Some advice may seem like it’ll make you uncomfortable. Try it on anyway. It might feel better than you think.
Here’s how to build great workplace relationships, job hunt and keep your sanity while you navigate a new professional landscape.
Ramit Sethi: Doing this won’t get you a job
No responses to the resumes you send out?
“You need to change your approach,” said Ramit Sethi, personal finance coach and author of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.”
The best jobs are not found by sending resumes to what Sethi calls the “black hole of doom,” but through networking and relationships.
And make sure to zero in with surgical precision on your desired job title and company. “You should be able to say, ‘I want to be a marketing manager at a B2B company in the Bay Area, with this many employees,’” Sethi said.
A handful of companies will fit those parameters. Sethi advises hunting them down, either by finding connections on LinkedIn or building them. “Take people out for coffee before you send a resume,” he said. “That’s how your resume gets to the top of the pile.”
Sheryl Sandberg: Speak up
Don’t wait to become a leader, Sheryl Sandberg tells young women just starting out in the work world.
“You can make a difference from your first day in the office,” said Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.” “Sit at the table; let your voice be heard.”
From an early age, Sandberg said, many women are discouraged from leading. In the classroom, girls are called on less and interrupted more.
If you’re afraid to speak up, feel the fear — and speak up anyway. You were hired for a reason, and the world needs your ideas.
Mark Cuban: Keep calm and carry on
The advice from billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of business reality TV show “Shark Tank ” — airing weeknights at 7:00 p.m. on CNBC — is not to get flustered.
“Don’t stress about your first job,” Cuban said. The first few jobs you have are a time to finally get paid to learn, rather than vice versa, he said.
According to Cuban, you want to be able to get three things from an early-career job: money (naturally); an enjoyable, fun company culture; and a little self-knowledge.
Suzy Welch: Make your boss love you
Here are three easy things you can do to impress your boss, according to Suzy Welch, bestselling management author and CNBC contributor.
Don’t be an office gossip. It can be tempting to join in, Welch says, but you can distinguish yourself by staying above the fray when someone says, “Did you hear ...?”
Show some restraint, whether it’s your love life, family drama or a medical condition. Don’t overshare.
Assume best intentions. Ditch your cynicism and believe that everyone wants the best for the company and for you. Good teams are built on trust, Welch said, and that positivism will help you in every meeting, conversation and project.
Mika Brzezinski: Develop your voice
At the beginning of her career, Mika Brzezinski said, someone told her to keep her head down, be quiet and just do the work.
“This is terrible advice,” said Brzezinski, the bestselling author and co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Her latest book, “Earn It!: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in Your 20s and Beyond,” is a tell-all on how to get ahead when you’re just starting out.
You can’t assume you’ll be recognized and rewarded simply for delivering results. “Quite the opposite,” Brzezinski said. “Stand up straight, be alert, and keep your eyes open.”
You don’t have to go into work with guns blazing — just develop your voice. “Don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments,” she said. “Your body language should show that you are alert and open to feedback, guidance and the next opportunity to fulfill a task.”
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.