Careers

5 career secrets that can help you get ahead

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Every professional wants to get ahead at work, but few know how to translate that motivation into actionable steps. Instead of waiting for the perfect job or opportunity to take control of your career, consider the advice experts say has helped them succeed.

Here are five strategies you can use to give your career a boost:

1. Participate in the Favor Economy

Author and business journalist Suzy Welch.
Author and business journalist Suzy Welch.

A powerful, invisible economy based on favors people do for each other can help you get ahead, says leadership expert and best-selling author Suzy Welch. Helping others out is an investment in your own career because more often than not, they'll pay you back later on when you need it.

2. Go all in

Boston Globe | Getty Images

Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, rarely takes time off. Long after the football season ends, he's still grinding away. One of his top career tips? Never rest on your laurels.

3. Ask for help

Christopher Tung, co-founder of Huttle.
Photo: Johnny Chau | Huttle
Christopher Tung, co-founder of Huttle.

"We need to be more comfortable asking for help," says entrepreneur Christopher Tung, who has worked for two companies that were acquired by Amazon. He credits his ability to make responsible professional decisions to the mentoring he received from his bosses and peers.

4. Don't make snap decisions

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet Inc.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Eric Schmidt, chairman of Alphabet Inc.

Billionaire Googler Eric Schmidt says making short-term decisions is a mistake that many people, including himself, are guilty of. He recommends putting all of your decisions in a five-year context to make sure you're thinking strategically.

5. Dress the part

When in doubt, dress up rather than down for a job interview or important meeting. A fashion expert says investing in a few items like a well-fitted blazer makes all the difference.

Check out one Google executive's strategy for mapping out your career.