Very few professionals become successful by chance. It takes dedication, a clear vision of what you want your career to look like - plus a road map for how you plan to get there - and a proactive investment in advancement opportunities.
Success can mean different things to different people. Some aim for a C-Suite promotion, while others want a more flexible lifestyle. In any case, you need to invest time and resources to help you take steps toward achieving your ideal scenario.
Serving as a member on an advisory board, or being hired for project-based advisory work, is one of the most effective ways for you to invest in your career because you are exposing you to professional opportunities that would otherwise not be available, or may be difficult to access alone.
Each of the following opportunities offer advantages to give you a competitive edge in the professional world, whether it’s to secure new partnerships or investors, be hired for a new job, or earn a raise/promotion. Whatever that may be, it is smart to invest in these opportunities as early as you can.
Rounding out your resume (and any other online presence, such as your own professional website or LinkedIn profile) with additional work experience is an excellent way to attract new opportunities. Board member credentials symbolize leadership status, which makes someone a more attractive candidate and plays a major factor in landing a new job or partnership down the road.
Advisory work also provides an opportunity to develop the characteristics of a good leader, such as refined presentation and communication skills, increased confidence, and accountability. It’s important to remember that soft skills - the people skills - are just as important as business acumen when it comes to being a good leader.
The further you get in your career, it often becomes less about job search and more about establishing your reputation. As an advisor, you’re able to surround yourself with like-minded, ambitious people with whom you can develop meaningful and motivating workplace connections. But remember, networking isn’t just a one-way street, especially at the executive level, so advisory work is a great way to foster goodwill that won’t go unnoticed.
Having an established network could be the catalyst to securing a new investment, starting your own business or simply opening the door to unexpected opportunities.
As an added bonus, advisors have the luxury of serving on the board of companies that resonate with personal interests or passions. Networking among people with similar interests allows you to find common ground and build genuine relationships.
Successful advisors are those with in-depth knowledge on a specific topic(s) in their field and are willing to share it with companies that need to fill gaps within its organization. The advantage to this is two-sided. Companies benefit from the much-needed advice of someone with first-hand experience who can help solve challenges and overcome obstacles, but equally as significant is the satisfaction advisors feel when they play an influential role in the success of another company.
58% of advisors revealed their main motivation for being an advisor is to share their knowledge, and the personal “feel good” satisfaction it brings to their life. And, as part of a company’s trusted inner circle, advisors have an outlet to showcase their ideas and opinions, and bring them to fruition.
Many executives already author research papers, white papers, or think-pieces related to their field/industry. Advisor networks, like AdvisoryCloud, provide tools for advisors to build a professional website, publish these materials online, and promote themselves as a thought leader.
Your online presence is a public display of your personal brand, so it’s important to cultivate your brand to reflect your professional aspirations.
Despite having drawn out a very meticulous career path, unexpected changes can throw a wrench in your entire plan. Between the flux of an unpredictable economy and the ever-changing nature of business, it’s essential to prepare for contingencies. Diversifying streams of work is your best strategy for making sure you’re covered in the unfortunate case of layoffs, business closures, or an economic downturn.
While some of these opportunities may come to you organically, through word-of-mouth or introductions from a business mentor, most successful professionals have to seek new growth opportunities on their own.
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