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5 Steps That Will Lead You To A Successful Career

By Andrea Diaz, Sales Manager @ SunLife Financial
April Hip Haus Sponsor (Toronto)

I started my career in Financial Services as an advisor with one of the big five banks in the Financial District of Toronto. I spent a few years learning the industry and how to build relationships with clients.

As I developed my career, I began to reflect on my future and I knew I wanted to be in a place where I would be able to have a meaningful impact on others. After some time, I made the decision to move into a new role that would allow me the flexibility to create my own space and limits, giving me the possibility to help others. As a sales manager, I now have the opportunity to coach and guide individuals looking for an independent career. I am fortunate to not only enjoy my own success, but to be able help others start their own practice in Financial Services and to guide them in the process of reaching their own success.

As a young professional, strategically managing my career has always been one of my top priorities. One of the first career lessons I learned is that things don’t always go as planned – and that’s not an unusual conclusion to come to in today’s economy. The majority of professionals working in a competitive environment such as the financial industry understand that their career paths are bound to include a few detours along the way. It is important to embrace those changes and to learn to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.

These are five lessons I have learned along the way that have helped me build a fulfilling career:

1. Personal Branding – Know Yourself

What makes you different? Why should someone do business with you? What do you want to be known for? How do other people see you and how do you want them to see you? Be aware of your strengths and how you are perceived. Understand what motivates you. Be passionate about the areas that interest you and be mindful of the choices you make. Develop critical thinking and commit to your learning path. Keep in mind that employers look for candidates who strive for excellence and who can complement their team. Make a good impression everywhere you go and with everything you do. Build your brand and make it excellent.

2. Never Stop Being Entrepreneurial – Take Risks!

Don’t be afraid to take initiative and make mistakes. Learn to see the opportunities, not the risks. If you make a decision and do not like the results, see it as an opportunity to learn. You can always evaluate, adjust and recover. If you don’t take risks, you’ll never move forward.

3. Understand The Big Picture

One of the things that make leaders stand out is being aware of economics, politics and other external factors that affect the field they’re in. It is important to have situational awareness – understanding your environment and the external factors that affect your business.

4. Use The Tools At Your Disposal

Keep track of your career. What are you enjoying? What is working for you? What are your main skills and capabilities? Keep your resume and social media profiles up to date. Stay current with information and update your skills. Take every opportunity to meet new people that can give you a different perspective. Find and work with mentors.

5. Associate With Success

Recognize the best and the brightest – look for opportunities to work with and learn from them. Evaluate the organization you’re with by the quality of its leadership and those in leadership positions. Learn as much as you can from those who are doing what you want to do, and find ways to win their support.

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