BY Rehan Fernando

 OPT FOR A PASSION BASED CAREER Not everyone is suited for any job. Some people are creative while others are more analytical – and the list that differentiates one working person from another is endless. So opting for a job or role that you’re passionate about could make life a lot easier in the long run. Going to work will be exciting and the days enjoyable, if you follow your heart as well as mind.

Unfortunately, many make career decisions based on peer pressure or the rush to find employment in a competitive job market resulting in choices that may cause regret later on. Considering your passion is a good starting point when it comes to selecting a career path.

PICK YOUR LEADER (NOT THE COMPANY) In contrast to conventional thinking, search for the right leader to work for rather than base your choice entirely on a company’s image or profile. There can be wide disparities in individual management styles even in the same organisation so finding one with which you can align and learn from is important – especially in the early years of your career.

Good leaders tend to develop teams and provide them with opportunities to learn, as well as offer encouragement and motivation. They’re also more likely to influence the management style that you develop over time. It is often said that good leaders develop more good leaders.

CHECK OUT THE COMPANY AND INDUSTRY If you would like to join a company with a diversified portfolio of businesses, holds agencies or franchises, or possesses industry specialisation, read about them in advance of applying for a job.

This investment on your part would not only help make an impression at an interview but over the long term, it’ll build useful knowledge that can be leveraged at work. Over time, such initiatives could contribute to increasing one’s perceived value and career progression in the organisation.

FOCUS ON LEARNING (NOT EARNING) If you can afford to compromise on your earning potential in the short term, it would be advantageous to focus on good learning, experiences and skills that can be honed in the early years – they will help propel your career as time passes. The result is a compromise in short-term earnings for the potential to generate much higher income streams in later years.

MATCH COMPETENCIES TO THE JOB ROLE If you enjoy interacting with people, a back office job is unlikely to be the best choice. Similarly, if you’re great at programming, a career in software could be better suited.

While it may seem obvious, many people fail to match their core competencies with relevant job roles. This doesn’t mean you have to work in a particular area; but it does imply that you have a greater chance of success in areas where you’re more competent. If you are moving into an area where you feel less competent, invest in learning and building the required competencies rather than attempting to tackle new tasks with existing skills.

CHOOSE ALL-ROUND EXPERIENCE Many businesspeople in leadership roles have gained all-round experience rather than limiting their exposure and subsequent expertise to one area of the business. It is common for CEOs to have worked across functions in the past – for example, from revenue generating to support service roles, as well as across geographies and tiers.

The wider the work exposure, the better the understanding of the business and the broader the perspective. ‘Silo focus’ may get you to the top in a function but is unlikely to guarantee further progression.

Therefore, job rotation is a common occurrence; and quite often, it’s encouraged in multinationals and conglomerates. Structured management trainee programmes generally provide good exposure by moving new recruits across the business over the duration of a programme.

SELF-CONFIDENCE PLAYS A ROLE Self-confidence can be a major factor in ensuring that you are hired. Interviewers or assessors are likely to have reservations about hiring someone who lacks self-confidence as this may be a sign of an inability to perform one’s job function with confidence.

On the other hand, people who seem more confident are likely to be passionate, positive in their outlook and willing to learn.

ANY LEARNING IS GOOD LEARNING Work that may seem less meaningful today could be very helpful at a later point in time so learn the ropes of what you do.

Work exposure offers a learning experience, not merely an earning experience – so make the right choice… and make the most of it!