Wondering how to get ahead in your job? This week we talked to Junior Chamber International, Dublin President, Theresa Cahill. We picked her brain for the best tips to advance your career.
5 Tips for Advancing your Career
Surround yourself with positive, honest like minded people, find those individuals who believe they can achieve anything and believe in the limitless potential for themselves and others. They will push you in your chosen career and support you to be the best on your own career path. Find mentors in your own industries or in the industry you strive to be involved in.
Develop your Networking skills, try a variety of networking activities, find what’s right for you, there are so many networking opportunities both online and offline these days, find the best for you. Have a goal in mind when attending Networking events, such as- aim to meet 3 new people per networking event. This is a fantastic opportunity to present your professional self and your brand to others, arrive prepared and on time – have business cards, handouts, whatever might be appropriate. Enjoy the experience of meeting a variety of new people.
Explore the skills you want to develop, take some time looking at your own skills and align them with your dream career path – if you want to develop leadership skills, communication skills, goal setting, emotional intelligence for example. Find an opportunity to develop or use these in your current role, be it in employment or voluntary.
When preparing your cv or job interview skills look at opportunities within your skill set. Employers are increasingly looking for professionals with a wealth of skills and knowledge. These may come to light in competency based interviews- such as using your own experiences from a variety of backgrounds in order to demonstrate your skill mix. These additional skills will demonstrate your leadership and your adaptability.
Feeling the fear and doing it anyway: This I think is the most important area and the one in which it is invaluable to surround yourself with the best support. In life, if we want to move forward and develop we may need to tackle challenges that seem scary or daunting. This can be done by going outside one’s comfort zone and getting involved in projects, stepping into a leadership role, or trying something new. These skills are invaluable to developing our careers.
For example, I attended a two-hour debating workshop recently with a colleague, both of us complete novices and we were offered an opportunity to compete in a debate within a very safe JCI environment. Both of us were extremely nervous (cue shaking hands, shaky voice etc), however we went on to “have a go”, and managed to get through the first round – then we were given another opportunity to compete against another team, again cue shaking, and this continued in a cycle until we won the overall competition. Now I know from my own experience it doesn’t always work out this way and some of the most important lessons are when it doesn’t go smoothly but you survive. However, if you don’t try, you can’t develop your skills. Surround yourself with people who will support you when you’re nervous and when it doesn’t go according to plan.
Interview with Theresa Cahill
How did you get involved with JCI?
I joined JCI in March 2015. I had attended a start your own business course in my Local Enterprise Office and found it fantastic – the one pertinent piece of advice I took from this was – to find and surround myself with like-minded people. I researched several organisations and found JCI might be a good fit. I went along to a meeting and attended a fantastic training and met some interesting people.
What has been your experience with JCI?
I jumped straight in and discovered JCI to be a very safe environment to learn and make mistakes. Following the first year of involvement, I stood for election and won a seat on the council for the role of business officer and from this role I went on to project manage a local and national event. I was lucky enough to have opportunities to travel with this JCI.
What are you currently up to?
I have since gone on to be elected to the role of President this year, which is a fantastic and a dynamic leadership opportunity. I will have an opportunity to represent Ireland on the world stage at the world congress in Amsterdam in October 2017.
Why would you recommend others to join JCI?
I have learnt so many skills from my time in JCI and also made some wonderful friends.