By Yanting Sim

Tech In Asia, August 6, 2018 —

The following are excerpts from the Quora post, 

“What are a few unique pieces of career advice that nobody ever mentions?”

(123RF Stock Photo)


John Marty, Senior manager of product management, Amazon

1. Know your blind spot.

The thing that might be holding you back in your career is something you don’t even know about – this is called the blind spot, and we all have one. When seeking feedback, find peers who will honestly tell you what yours is.

2. People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.

Find one who believes in you and who isn’t afraid to make you better than them.

3. There’s a high probability you’ll get promoted sooner if you take a role at a different company.

4. Performance reviews are a bell-shaped curve.

Most people get put right in the middle.

5. Never get too amazing at your job.

People will try and keep you in it.

6. If you are not getting promoted every 18 to 24 months, you are stagnating.

Find out why and fix it.

7. Entitled people suck.

Be grateful, be humble – nothing is owed to you.

James Schek, Senior software engineer, Netflix

8. Keep in touch with people who have left your company.

The network of people you know who leave your current company are often times more valuable to you than those people still with your company.

Sief Khafagi, Lead recruiter, Facebook

9. Mentors can make or break you.

By far, being able to learn from others who are better than you at whatever you do is definitely the most important thing. They help you develop on both a professional and personal level and guide you in making decisions.

I’ve also had bad mentors – ones who have used me, stolen ideas from me, taken credit for them, and left me in the dust. It happens and it sucks.

So when trying to figure out who would make a good mentor, look for the right signs. Do they genuinely care about others and not just themselves? Is it a two-way relationship? Do they make themselves available or are they hard to reach? Do they open up to you or is it hard and uncomfortable to navigate conversations?

10. Become financially literate ASAP.

I’m in my mid-20s, and I’ve built a net-worth in the six figures by doing the simple things. Investing, avoiding debt, using leverage, creating multiple streams of income, and understanding the simple habits of becoming financially secure.

If you’re comfortable and understand how to use the money you make from your job, you’ll be less stressed, make better career decisions, take calculated risks, and feel like you can go after the things that make you happy – not the ones that pay the bills.

11. Build your personal brand.

If you build a trusted personal brand, you’ll create leverage for your career. Opportunities will chase you, not the other way around. You’ll also become more and more indispensable for whichever employer you’re with.

If you decide to go out on your own or build a company, your brand follows and pays dividends, time and time again.

12. Work smarter, not harder.

Did you know that with most jobs you can accomplish the same output with 70 percent of the effort? So how does this happen? Find ways to automate tasks, focus on the 20 percent of tasks that give you 80 percent of results, leverage technology or other tools that help you scale your efforts and use the rest of your time learning about how to get better at whatever you do.

Vicki Salemi, Career expert, Monster

13. Negotiate like a boss.

Don’t be timid or afraid of talking about money. Upon receiving every job offer, negotiate at least five to 10 percent higher at the very minimum.

During your time in each role, talk openly to your boss about what the anticipated raise is expected, and set metrics as to how you can exceed your job responsibilities and get compensated accordingly. The more you flex your negotiation skills, even when the outcome isn’t necessarily favorable, the more comfortable you’ll become at asking to get paid what you are worth.

14. Learn how to change the toner on the printer.

Become that go-to guy or girl in your department who figures things out, who brings in bagels on Fridays, and most importantly, who becomes indispensable to the team. You’ll be viewed not only as a leader but as a problem solver, connector, and most importantly, as that person who is the last one standing when layoffs are potentially on the table.

Deepak Shukla, Career coach, TedX speaker

15. Find people with different skills, and learn from what they’re best at.

If you’re not a social person, spend a few weeks shadowing someone super social. You’ll learn a lot from it.

16. Be better than the other guy.

“The average person who knows company politics ascends” is a fallacy. It is actually the incredibly excellent person who also knows company politics that ascends.

17. Pick up god-like Excel skills.

This is the most underrated asset that can make a key difference. If you understand pivot tables, VBA look-ups, index/ match solutions, 3D sums, arrays, and proper use of the $ sign, you’ll be the go-to person from new starter to partner.

18. You’re always selling.

It doesn’t matter whether you are in a sales role. You’ll still need to sell yourself, or a product, or an idea. There are hundreds of ways to learn this. Pick one that you like, and start there.

19. Learn how to work the room.

From networking events to client meetings, spend at least a couple of minutes with everyone. Make them smile, make them listen, make them feel important – then leave.

Ambra Benjamin, Technical recruiting manager, Facebook

20. When interviewing for a position, always be kind to the receptionist.

I’ve seen many very good candidates railroaded in the hiring decision process because word got back to the hiring manager that the person was very rude to the receptionist.

It’s not super often that someone being overly nice can get them the job, but it can most definitely work against you. Nothing screams “not a culture fit” like someone who doesn’t bother to turn on the charm for the very first person they encounter for an in-person interview.

Editing by Judith Balea

The full thread from the Quora post, “What are a few unique pieces of career advice that nobody ever mentions?”  can be found here.