Over the years as a specialist recruiter in Construction & Property, I’ve supported people with their next step in their career. Whether that be advising them that it may be in their current company or making the move to another company. I have noticed 5 key traits that successful professionals tend to exhibit.
- They go out of their way to learn from people. They want to be challenged and put themselves out there. One tactic that I have seen work is asking somebody that they respect to become their “mentor”. A mentor won’t be afraid to ask you difficult questions, they will push you to self-analyse and they will set you small targets to achieve and they’ll hold you to them.
There are two options that I will mention for mentors. You can have an ‘Internal Mentor’, someone who works for the same company as you, perhaps they have progressed in their career in a way that you would like to. There’s also ‘External Mentors’, someone who doesn’t work for your company, this doesn’t need to be someone in the same industry. There are positives to both types of mentors.
- With ‘Internal mentors’, if you prove to follow up on the advice you receive and prove to be an asset, you’ll get recognition and ultimately, you may move up your career ladder more quickly.
- With ‘External Mentors’, you’ll have the benefit of learning from someone who has a different way of doing things to your current company. You’ll pick up new ideas and have an opportunity to network with people outside of your company.
2. They know what they want. Now, this might seem pretty simple but it takes a good amount of self-analysis to truly know what you want. You need to ask yourself questions like:
- “What do I want out of my career?”
- “Am I happy being the best PM, CM, QS etc in the market or do I have higher aspirations?”
- “How will I quantify my success? Will it be purely based on how much money I make? Will it be how much I enjoy my job? Will it be through winning industry awards, becoming chartered and being recognised by your peers? etc
- “What obstacles do I have in front of me to stop me from achieving my goals?”
3. Ask for feedback. If you don’t know where your weaknesses are, how will you ever know what you need to improve? When you get your feedback, you need to look at whether the weakness is easily fixed or you might even discover that knowing that you have a weakness can turn it into a strength.
Whenever I think about strengths and weaknesses it always reminds me of Keith’s appraisal in the office:
4. Become an expert in a certain area. Perhaps you know more than most about a particular form of contract, effective project planning etc. If you do then why not share your knowledge? Let people know that you are an expert by writing about it or even just giving people advice or guidance. (Which leads nicely onto my last point)
5. Help people with no expectation of anything in return. Great leaders have a natural/unnatural ability to motivate and support their teams to achieve success. If you can do this as well as your main responsibilities, you’ll soon get noticed. Instead of being cynical (most people would admit to being cynical in the past), be somebody who shows appreciation to people and acknowledges a job well done.
If you feel there is no more development or support available in your current role/company, you should speak to the people that you know to see what’s out there and which opportunities align with their future plans.
I’m happy to discuss the opportunities that you are thinking about and I will give you my honest opinion on whether I believe it to be a good move or not. Sometimes, the best move is just speaking to your manager/director, explaining your aspirations and asking how you can get to where you want to be.
If this is the case, I’ll advise you to do this.
If you feel you have hit the ‘glass ceiling’ (I hate clichés) then perhaps we can speak about new job opportunities.
If you’d like to be kept up-to-date with the latest insights into Quantity Surveying in Northern Ireland, sign up to my monthly newsletter here.
If you would like any career or hiring advice, feel free to contact me on 07950 935 686 / firstname.lastname@example.org