3 Simple Rules to Stay On Top of Your Game

It’s the summer.  Job seekers are facing dismal unemployment rates as the United States economy starts down the long road to improvement.  If you’re lucky enough to have a job, it’s likely that you’re constantly looking for ways to stay on top of your game.  Continuing professional development, working towards that promotion, or simply working to do your best every day, it’s tough to remain positive when the skies aren’t always sunny and the birds aren’t singing Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.  I’ve done some thinking on this subject and think that it really comes down to three main points.  Sometimes, the best answer is the most simple.  I hope that these recommendations work for you.

Here are a few simple rules to help you stay on top of your game:

Keep your network informed and engaged.   Set aside a certain amount of time each week to do this.  I can’t say it enough – networking makes a difference!  Regardless of your situation, it’s a good idea to keep your network up to date.  Let them know how you’re doing.  If you’re employed, it’s a great way to update them on your progress.  If you’re still seeking employment, it’s a way to remind your network of this and the challenges you’re facing.  You never know how someone could help!  Students – if you’re interning this summer, you’re probably just about ready to meet with your sponsor or manager to update them on the progress of your assigned projects.  Don’t keep this progress update to just your manager.  Let your network in on it.  They want to know too!

Remember your roots.  It’s important to remember your beginnings.  We all start somewhere and couldn’t get to where we want to go without a good push.  Regardless of how successful you become, I’d encourage you to say thank you to the people that push you to be better and serve as a support network for your career.  It seems like a little thing, but it means a lot to hear a sincere thank you these days (it’s not that common). 

Learn and apply lessons.  Have you read a great book lately?  Did you see that awesome movie that came out on Friday?  Look a little deeper into the story and premise of the books you read and movies you watch.  Believe it or not, most times there is a moral to the story.  Take the lessons you learned or the theme and apply it to your career.  It could be anything from management to teamwork to leadership.  As entertaining as the movies are, there’s a great deal of insight to gain from this summer’s blockbusters.  Here’s what I learned from the new A-Team movie: Building Your Own A-Team.

So, whether you’re vacationing from school this summer, looking for a new job, or are already gainfully employed, these are three simple ways to stay on top of your game.  This isn’t meant to be a one-sized fits all approach, so if you have other suggestions or recommendations, I welcome your input!  Please leave a comment below.  As always, thanks for reading.

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91 thoughts on “3 Simple Rules to Stay On Top of Your Game

  1. well, i am not currently resides in United States, and we dont have summer here. but i do think that these 3 little things are important. I am currently unemployed, fresh grads with little experience, and your article at least, has give me some kick-start things-should-be-done. so thanks 😀

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  2. Something I’d like to add to the list is:

    4) Always stay sharp!

    Even when you’re not working, find something, anything to fill your time. Be it a hobby, reading the paper, or doing a crossword (cheap plug), keep challenging your brain. If you don’t, you might find yourself jobless with the mind of a goldfish!

    Natina

    http://crosswordcharlie.wordpress.com/

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    1. Vijay,

      It is obvious, isn’t it? However, I couldn’t find this type of information out there that was drilled down to such a succint level. So, I took the initiative and wrote this post. Thanks for commenting!

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    1. I agree. Why do you think this is? Are students not being prepared by the institution (via faculty or career services)? Here’s my opinion: Ultimately, it’s the student’s responsibility – not the faculty, career services, recruiters, or organizations. We can only offer tools and resources. The students have to be willing to partake in career development. Thanks for the comment!

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  3. These are useful, especially with the job market as competitive as they are today. I agree that most are largely expected, but still worth reading and thinking about. thanks

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  4. Remember:

    S…Speak with meaning
    K…Keep open lines of communication
    I…Invest in your career
    L…Listen with an open heart and mind
    L…Learn, learn and don’t stop learning!

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  5. A simple thank you to the people who have helped you in some way can go a long way. That is, you never know when you’ll be wanting (or needing?) to have their help in the future.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

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  6. Not much better prospects here on the other side of the pond. Only this morning did I hear in the news that this year’s graduates have never had it so bad. For every job vacancy they have to compete with apporximately 80 other applicants.
    Times indeed are tough. Great tips.

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  7. What a sensible and helpful post.
    We were hiring in 2 people a few weeks back. One position for a skilled individual in the lab and one a truck driver.
    What troubled and amazed us was the dishonesty in how the applicants represented themselves.
    You can’t drive a truck in Maryland without a special license but people were happy to say they had clean records and that specialized license.
    The lab position attracted an inordinate number of people whose only inquiry was how much does this pay. We canceled them out right away.
    We now have employed an immigrant worker who barely speaks English and is very difficult to work with for the driving position that pays 15 an hour. Our lab guy, who is a pre-med student working part-time for $30 an hour. If he has an exam he doesn’t show up to work. With so many people unemployed why is it so hard to find some decent hardworking employees.

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  8. good job… stay on top keep stay on top.. top.. not bottom.. always top..

    great things come up with great tip…

    nice post.. i like your goldfish.. also the green one.

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    1. Aww, thank you. Thanks for reading my tips! I’m glad you found them useful. If you’re not already, please feel free to subscribe to my blog. You’ll get email updates or RSS of new posts!

      Thanks again.

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  9. Thank you for this great post. I completely agree with you on your point about remembering your roots. I’m always amazed by how powerful a “simple, sincere thank you” can be.

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  10. Great advice! I just got a job FINALLY that starts Friday with a family owned company that rents condos on the beach as a housekeeper. It was the most impressive job interview I had ever had. I read the A-Team blog u linked to and greatly enjoyed it and I learned something from both blogs.

    I am just posting here for advice really on a topic that is a bit hard to explain shortly so that people will read it and not just move on but here goes my attempt.

    Having read this blog, I will say I’m the type of worker that will work harder than needed to get the work done because I have this annoying trait where I have to stay busy or I get bored, and not as productive. I’m always actively searching for ways to make a job easier, and faster for the employees around me as long as it can be done safely, because quota’s and deadlines or trying to get done so your not paying millions to your workforce is not something you trade for safety.

    My question is, when do you know that your doing to much. Obviously there is a point where you cant make things work better without making it unsafe, until new safety technologies arise, but morally, is there a point where it will stand out to your employer as annoying, or that your trying to hard. My main reason for asking this is due to a recent job I was applying for at a yacht producing company.

    I talked to the foreman of the area I was applying for and he said it was a good interview, so I had some hope I would at least get a call-back. A few days later a representative in HR of the company called me for a next day drug-screen/physical. On the phone she said she wanted to get me in there for it so I could start working the following day.

    I went in to the drug-screen/physical and returned the results to the company as requested and she said I would be receiving a call about the results, which I wasn’t the least bit worried about, and then I’d be set for the job. I’ve taken drug screens in the past and none of the never took more than 3 hours, some I was given the results minutes after the screen. I didn’t receive a call-back from her and was under the assumption I would get it that day.

    I got scared and confused and the foreman I talked to made it very clear, he doesn’t let employees who are late last for him long at all. I didn’t wanna be expected to be there at 6 am and not be there because I’m sitting at home waiting on a call-back. I went in at 5:30 to talk to the foreman and he told me to wait and talk to the HR rep. So i went for a walk and came back at 7:30, half an hour before she was scheduled to arrive and waited for her.

    She arrived and gave me an attitude because I showed up and asked in person about the results, and I even explained to her about my concerns with the foreman and reasons for showing up in person.

    Did I let my trait get the best of me and push to hard, or did I just end up in a bad circumstance that cost me a possible career that could keep me secure in a job and interested in my work for years to come in a company that has lasted for many years?

    ps. sorry for the length of my reply, I have a bad habit of rambling.

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  11. Those some good tips.. especially the third one about catching the hidden meanings in movies and books and getting inspired from them. That approach has worked wonders for me in the past and I too would recommend it other people!

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  12. You are right about the movies. Most great movies are written as a reflection or answer to the current events in the world. So, if you get stuck with worries, then to watch a great movie is a way to get the “over” view. Network and Gratitude. Yes, great points as well. We sometimes grow and then when step back take some time to recall those seed that were planted. NO that we want the revenue, is just already part of who we are. So, we must use it. Great call!
    ~Great Love to you,
    Mirian from peelingtheorange. “)

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    1. Glad you find the information resourceful. Thanks for bookmarking the site. If you’re not already, please subscribe to my blog. You’ll get all new updates sent to you either in email newsletter format or RSS. Thanks!

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