The secret priorities of Aussie workers

by Stephanie Zillman31 Oct 2012

From sucking up to the boss, strutting the latest office fashions, to simply trying to be liked – it seems there is a wide variety of ways professionals from around the world think they can best get ahead in their careers.

New findings from professional networking platform LinkedIn show the perceptions people hold on how to get ahead are linked to their cultural background. For Aussie professionals, it’s all about being liked. Being popular in the workplace was voted as more important than looking good or getting on with the boss. It also beat being seen at relevant industry events as the surest way to get ahead at work.

The Australian findings were in strong contrast to their British counterparts, where just 38% of employees in the UK view office popularity as an important factor in their career development. Getting in with the boss was seen as more impactful than getting on with colleagues – some 66% of Brits voted that building a relationship with their manager was the most significant career driver.

Yet the Brits have got it wrong according to one career coach. “Being liked in the office is an important part of feeling connected in office life,” Sally-Anne Blanshard, career coach at Nourish Coaching said. Most professions incorporate at least some element of team work, and forging a strong relationship with colleagues is an important way to learn and develop.

The research revealed that Aussies also place some importance on looking the part. Some 69% of Australian professionals feel that this would help their careers. Being seen in the right places and at industry events was an important factor according to 39% of Australian employees.

“Of course being competent at a job is a key success factor in anyone’s career,” Blanshard said. “However, to get the best out of their careers and maintain a polished professional reputation, workers across disciplines need to supplement their specific job skills with the right knowledge, interaction and networking techniques.”

Blanshard recommends the following tips for professionals to stay a step ahead:
 

  1. Always try to look your best. Your appearance gives the first impression on your personal standards. Any photos of you, such as your LinkedIn profile photo, should look professional.
     
  2. Make the effort to get to know your boss. He/she is a key part of your personal learning and development, and you’ll be spending a lot of time together. So take the time to nurture the relationship. Keep an eye on trends and articles that your manager shares on LinkedIn and create a conversation offline to demonstrate your interest.
     
  3. When you meet new people – remember them! Connect with new contacts, and then make sure they remember you by interacting with them regularly and sharing useful content.
     
  4. Never stop learning! Industry knowledge is key, especially in any consulting career. Read any relevant magazines, books and research papers that will provide knowledge. Additionally, browse for groups relevant to your subject area, and customise your news feed to include the most relevant news for your industry.
     
  5. Make an effort to check out relevant industry events. Accept invitations where relevant and broaden your connections and horizons. If networking in person isn’t your thing, or you have limited time, you can network online.

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