Ali Jafarian

Like most people, I’ve worked my way up the business chain over the course of my career. I’ve been everything from an intern to a Founder, for a variety of startups and larger corporations.

Over the years I was always ambitious to grow. I wanted more responsibility, achievement and compensation. I worked hard and saw progress. Now I run a few successful businesses of my own at age 31.

Here are some tips I learned along the way that accelerated my career growth.


Master Something

There are very few people in the world who hold leadership positions without being great at what they do. Most of them became great by putting in the time (the 10k Hour Rule). By the time you reach 10,000 hours in your craft, you will have achieved mastery. However, the time it takes you to master something is often the difference in growth rate.

For example, I put in the time right after college, while most of my friends and peers were still living the college lifestyle. Instead of hitting up the bars every weekend I was in my parents basement teaching myself web design and programming.


Be a Great Communicator

If there’s anything consistent in all businesses it’s communication. Every single business on the planet has to communicate. From email to handshakes, the way you communicate defines a major part of your career character. Great writers and speakers stand out from the crowd, and people in leadership notice them.

So take the time to use good grammar and punctuation in your emails. Avoid using too much slang or cursing in the workplace. Use your words as a weapon, not a weakness. It’s more important than you think.


Stay Hungry

The people who want raises and promotions are the people that never quit. This doesn’t necessarily mean working 60 hours/week. It does mean that you should always strive to do more – the 110% rule. There’s plenty of people doing just enough to get by… but there’s few people who are relentless.

Find ways to create “extra” value. Maybe you put some extra hours in when times get tight. Maybe you offer to help on another project or initiative. Whatever the opportunity, make sure your team and leadership know that you’re the guy/gal who’s always ready for a challenge.


Be Transparent

Lastly, be honest and real at work. I see far too many people falling into the “gossip circles” and/or reserving their opinions for closed doors. This kind of behavior will only keep you down. Being completely transparent isn’t always easy, but it will say a lot about your character, and good leaders appreciate it.

So speak up when you have something meaningful to contribute. Avoid the drama. Be confident in your ideas and opinions. Establish yourself as a voice in the office, not a number. Tell it how it is, not how it might be.


Summary

Some of this may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many people DON’T fit this criteria. I see sloppy emails all the time. I have plenty of friends who clock in and clock out. I’ve noticed office drama that consumes organizations and creates harmful culture…

These might not be ground-breaking tips, but they’ll go along way and yield dividends if you take them seriously.

Photo credit: Irene Dávila