The One Thing You Need To Know To Have A Successful Career…

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  • We've spoken to 15 successful and ambitious women - who definitely know what they're talking about - to find out their number one piece of advice for having a brilliant career. Listen up and take note, ladies...

Work out a way to make yourself useful. When I wanted a job at Newsround, I taught myself to use the editing software they had so that I could put my hand up and be helpful when other people were busy. Even if it’s just making everyone a cup of tea or running out to get lunch – if you can find a way to be an asset to an office, people will be keen to have you around.’ Helen Skelton, TV presenter.

    ‘My number one piece of advice to someone starting out is just plain hard work! There really is no secret. In order to achieve, be prepared to put in the hours. I do not believe in overnight success. My second word of advice is modesty. Keep questioning yourself and keep in mind that you may not always be right.’ Tara Jarmon, fashion designer.

    ‘If you’re looking to start your own company, choose an area that you know something about. There are exciting ways to pioneer in every market, whichever field you love. Find a co-founder with different skill sets to you, as this is a brilliant way to launch without needing to hire a full team on day one. Finally, don’t over-think it. There will never be a perfect time to leave your secure job, risk a salary decrease, and take a chance on an idea that might not work, but what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll go back to your previous role until you come up with the next idea!’ Anna Bance, founder of Girl Meets Dress.

    Work out what success means to you in the mid-term, then set your sights on what you need to do to get there, and be determined. Accept any knock-backs and persevere, but most importantly, pick roles that you enjoy – life’s too short!’  Alison Jones, director for customer quality at Volkswagen Group UK.

    ‘My number one piece of advice would honestly be to believe in yourself. In any business, workplace, or career path, you’ll always come up against people whose best intentions may not always be to help you along your way. You may hear the word “no” quite often on the way up, but as long as you believe in yourself, even the most far-fetched dreams and ambitions can come true (as cliché as that sounds). Write yourself a list of 5-10 things you want to achieve and tick them off as you get through them. Never lose focus and, however big your career gets, never forget how you got there and the lovely people who may have helped you on your way.’ Charlie Hedges, DJ, producer and radio presenter.

    ‘I’d advise people starting out in their careers to ignore what you “should” do, and focus on what allows you to learn the most, giving you the best foundation for success in the future.’ Emma Burrows, software engineer at Google.

    ‘Always believe in yourself. It’s hard when you get knock-backs and, somewhere along the way on your career path, this will happen. You can then doubt yourself, your product, brand and business. Don’t! Pick yourself back up, re-focus, remember why you are successful and believe in you.’ Charlotte Balbier, bridal wear designer.

    ‘I would say that the crucial thing is to listen to yourself and not get distracted by what everyone else thinks you should be doing. Yes, listen and learn, but you are the only person who is able to direct your movie! Petra Barran, founder of KERB.

    ‘Be resilient. Don’t be afraid to fail. The key successes in my career have always followed a time when I have pushed myself, got things wrong, learnt from my (at times painful) mistakes, and tried again.’ Elspeth Finch, award-winning engineer and director of Atkins.

    ‘Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – as long as you let passion drive you, where there’s a will you will make a way. I know first-hand that the prospect of starting your own company is daunting, but if you’ve done your homework then the reward justifies the risk! Business starts from the heart; you need to be passionate about it and wholly believe in its success, in order to go that extra mile on a daily basis.’ Patience Arinaitwe-Mugadu, founder and managing director of Vegesentials.

    ‘My number one piece of advice is find out what you’re good at, and do something good with it! Why? I think it’s that magical combination of feeling confident, competent and successful in the “what” we are doing. With that comes self-satisfaction and a sense pride.’ Karen Lynch, CEO at Belu.

    ‘Take the time to get to know who you are, be disciplined, and do the work that needs to be done. You need to believe in your abilities and product, know how to network effectively, and stay away from negative and toxic people. You also need to have goals that are sensible and achievable.’ Sadi Khan, founder of Noble Khan.

    ‘Understand each and every single aspect of your business; it will leave you in a strong position and enable you to have all the conversations you need to succeed.’ Clare Hornby, founder and creative director of ME+EM.

    ‘To succeed in any job, applying your lateral skills is key. Understand your strengths, trust in yourself and use that inner confidence. Push yourself to take chances and enter into situations where you don’t necessarily feel comfortable. Challenging yourself will help you grow into the shoes you’ve chosen, and will expose you to new and fantastic opportunities.’ Natalie Gross, CEO at Amaze.

    ‘Women with self-belief never try to copy others, and instead get their inspiration from within. Always try to stay true to yourself and remain authentic, listening to your gut feeling. It’s always important to go the extra mile and not give up when others already have.’ Elizabeth Stark, vice president of marketing for Cadenzza.

    What’s your one piece of career advice that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comment box below.

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