Career advice from leaders at top companies
20+ pieces of career advice these leaders wish they'd known
While there's no one-size-fits-all formula for career success, it can be helpful to gain insights and advice from those who have been in your shoes.
That's why we asked professionals at top companies for the career advice they wish someone had told them. Read on for their tips on how to take your career to the next level!
“Make tracking your accomplishments and any praise you receive a monthly habit. Work can get busy quickly, making it easy to forget everything you’ve accomplished. Tracking your accomplishments routinely will help you advocate for yourself more confidently during performance reviews and make your life much easier when you update your resume and LinkedIn profile.
I suggest finding a system that works for you. This could be anything from a spreadsheet to a dedicated tool like Notion or Airtable. Make sure to document what impact your accomplishment had by referencing any data or feedback you have handy!”
- Kassidi Sorensen, Employer Brand Manager at Autodesk
Learn more about Autodesk
"Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life" - Confucius (or maybe just some random internet meme)
In all seriousness though, this is actually great advice. The key to a happy and successful career is finding something that you are passionate about and that doesn't feel like a chore. Of course, this is easier said than done, but don't give up until you find your calling.
That being said, don't be afraid to take some risks and try new things along the way. Sometimes the most unexpected career paths can lead to the most fulfilling outcomes.
And remember, it's never too late to switch things up if you're not happy with where you're at. As the great philosopher Dr. Seuss once said, "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose." So go out there and find your bliss!”
- Susan Ross, Global Head of Talent Acquisition for Global Field Operations at Elastic
Learn more about Elastic
“Your external work network is as important as your internal one. It’s about strengthening your reputation across the organization. You get that through building relationships. People you work with cross-functionally get exposure to you through specific projects, not always through your day-to-day work. Don’t assume people know all that you bring to the table. In every organization, there is a key group of decision makers, build relationships with them. It’s critical to have someone in that group who isn’t afraid to put your name forward for opportunities or projects. It’s essential for women in particular to do this work.”
Learn more about Healthfirst
Here's some career advice from our fellow Expedians:
"Keep stretching yourself and do things even if they're not in your comfort zone or what you're familiar with. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable and embrace change because with change comes opportunity."
"Spend 5 minutes preparing before each meeting and you'll likely be the most prepared person in the room."
"Business isn't just about work, it's about relationships. Make connections across your company and expand your network. Build authentic relationships within your network to find meaningful opportunities. You can chat with others who are already doing the job you're interested in."
Learn more about Expedia Group
“ 1. Follow your dream – even if you don’t have the experience in that field. My mentor told me to pursue my passion for HR and I never looked back! As a woman of color, I sometimes doubt who I am and what I can be, but now realize the sky is the limit. I’m grateful to my female leader for inspiring me to believe in myself. As Audrey Hepburn said, ‘Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!
2. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone to both stretch and intimidate you at the same time. That’s when you really grow and prepare for that next level in your career.”
- Rachel Norton, DE&I Manager, Nestlé
Learn more about Nestlé USA
By sharing our stories, we can help others overcome their own obstacles. Leaders at Moody's share career advice and what they have learned along their career journeys.
“Trust that you can grow in the role, and just get better at it.” – Ariane Ortiz-Bollin (VP – Sr Credit Officer) recommends aiming higher.
“Don’t waste one second trying to be someone else“ – Viney Chadha (MD- Risk Management) explains the importance of knowing who you are.
Finally, Qing Liu (Senior Director, Industry Practice Lead Team) shares one of her favorite quotes “She believed she could, so she did.”
Learn more about Moody's
“Being future-focused and performance-driven is at the forefront of how we think about growing our people. Career development tends to take its own shape for everyone – whether you want to focus on moving up the ladder or learning new skills and moving cross-functionally, Veracode supports individual growth. We recently held a session focused on career trajectory that was led by an executive that changed careers in their 30s. Their piece of advice? You’re not stuck! Age is in fact just a number, and so long as you have a solid support system, anything is possible."
- Dawn Rogers, Chief Legal Officer
Learn more about Veracde
We’ve all made mistakes, but those missteps create learning opportunities. We tapped 4 U Krewers to share their top career advice.
“Do it scared! Don’t let fear get in the way of new opportunities.” –Angie T., Sr. LMS Analyst
“Be true to who you are. Being authentic is key to my happiness at work.” –Lauren G., Talent Acquisition Partner
“You don’t have to meet all the qualifications for a job. Rather, you must be the most qualified person who applies. Take a chance. It’s always a “no” if you don’t apply.” –Richard B., Product Support Manager
More career advice from U Krewers.
Learn more about UKG
Four BlackRock leaders shared tips they used to successfully navigate the firm and grow their careers:
- Take on a short-term assignment
- Build your internal brand
- Cultivate relationships
- Be candid with your manager
- Make a plan
Learn more about BlackRock
“Your career is a marathon, not a race—pace yourself. Take time to reflect and build short and long-term plans. Don’t underestimate the importance of laying down a strong foundation that can support you when challenges arise. Slowing down and setting priorities will set you up for success and save you time in the long run. Seek mentors who are doing the job you’re hoping to break into. Ask how they progressed in their career, what mistakes they made, and how they stayed resilient. Their insights may help you avoid setbacks and get you where you want to be faster. “ - Nancy D., Director of Technical Recruiting
Learn more about ServiceNow
T. Rowe Price
At T. Rowe Price, we do our best work together, and for Senior Solutions Investment Analyst Camila Henao-Arbeláez, having a support system was essential to her career growth and development. In this video, Camila reveals the secret to her career success – having a coach, someone to root for you through challenges and opportunities for growth. If you want to take your career to the next level, you can’t do it alone. Find people who will help you get there. You will go further if you go together.
Join a Team Invested in Your Advancement
Learn more about T. Rowe Price
United Technologies Corporation
Four pieces of career advice for taking your career to the next level from Sofia Jones, Senior Manager, Talent Attraction Diversity Initiatives:
- "Volunteer for projects
- Apply or advocate for your own promotional opportunities
- Advocate for others
- Take risks
Several studies have shown that women and men browse jobs similarly, but they apply to them differently. This research shows that women feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria of a position while men usually apply after meeting about 60%. Most candidates do not meet 100% of the criteria of the jobs that they get hired for. Remember, the answer is always no if you don’t at least try.”
"When thinking about taking your career to the next level, I recommend a 3-step approach:
First, know the WHY. It’s great to want to advance yourself and develop your skills, but find out what’s driving this desire….More money? Higher status? Bored in your current role? Just the ‘likely’ next step in your career? This may seem like an easy question to answer, but it truly requires some self-reflection on your part. Think about why you want that next step in your career. Think about what gets you the most excited in your current role. Will you have that excitement in the next position? Make sure you want to move on for the right reasons. Hint: it shouldn’t be all about the money or status! At SoftwareOne, we have an emerging leadership development program that helps our SWOmies explore their ‘why’.
Second, position yourself accordingly for that next step. For example, if you’re wanting to move into a management role, step up and showcase those skills well in advance of an opportunity ever opening up. Offer to take on a project. Take initiative on something that will improve a process. Be innovative – think outside the box of how things can be done differently. Challenge the status quo if it benefits the team and/or the overall organization. This will naturally allow others to see what you’re capable of and to highlight your potential. At SoftwareOne, we provide opportunities for stretch assignments and collaboration across multiple business units, which gives employees tremendous exposure for personal and professional growth.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to go for it and make a plan! There’s that old saying ‘all they can do is say no’. You will never know if you don’t ask! Hopefully you have a strong relationship with your manager so you can raise your hand and let him/her know you’re interested in growing your career. Then work together to create an action plan of how you’re going to get there. You need tangible and achievable goals with realistic timelines. Start small with 30-60-90 day action items and then you can broaden it out from there to long range goals (1 year and beyond). A good manager will not only want you to succeed but will help you reach your goals! At SoftwareOne, our employees meet with their managers one-on-one on a regular basis, which allows open dialog and feedback, promotes radical candor, and encourages career discussions."
Learn more about SoftwareOne
"1. Don't compare yourself with anyone else, career-wise. Often, we find ourselves comparing our job and salary with our peers and friends. Most of these times, we start spiralling into the illusion that we suck. But no matter the industry, comparison is the killer of progress. Everyone's journey is different and everyone is doing their best. Instead of comparing, we better learn from each other, uplift each other and help each other grow in our respective careers. When you find yourself comparing with someone else, reach out and ask them how they achieved it. Open a dialogue, instead of feeling down.
2. Find your 'WHY'. There is no better way to take your career to the next level than focusing on the reason why you are doing what you are doing. We spend 2080 hours at work (which is a lot of hours!) and we really need to choose the best option that nurtures not only our pocket but our passion & aim in life. Find what you are passionate about and go for it. I can guarantee that this feels better than any promotion."
Learn more about Condé Nast
Some advice from Myriad360:
1. Speak up!
Great ideas can come from anyone at any level. Let your voice be heard.
2. Jump on opportunities.
Offer help with tasks that are out of your normal scope. You may learn something new about yourself in the process.
3. Educate yourself.
Learn about the other departments that you work with. Having a basic knowledge of how they operate can make you a better support system.
4. Keep it simple.
Everyone processes information differently. Try to be as clear as possible when providing or asking for information.
Learn more about Myriad360
"I learned early to focus on my ikigai. A Japanese concept that roughly translates to "a reason for being", it is the intersection of one's passions, talents, values, and the world's needs. Make conscious choices to pursue purposeful work that fulfills you. This doesn't mean that every job has to be a perfect match; I encourage you to think of your career path more like a jungle gym than a ladder. Rather than focusing on always moving up--it's the lateral moves and finding ways to apply your skills to positions that can enhance your strengths and bring you closer to your ikigai."
- Tracy St. Dic, Global Head of Talent
Learn more about Zapier
"At Tackle, we believe that continuous learning and skill development are key to success in any career. One of our core company values is “Learn and grow as a team” where we seek and share knowledge across Tackle, and actively connect and collaborate with others. That’s why we believe in advancing your career. It is essential to adopt a growth mindset, be open to feedback, and seek out opportunities for professional development. Remember that learning and growth are ongoing processes, and it is crucial to stay curious and engaged to achieve your goals."
Learn more about Tackle
"As part of your job search, clearly define the values and culture that will support your success and career growth and then go find them! Research each company's mission statement, values. During your interviews, ask specific culture and values questions. Ask for specific examples of how your interviewer collaborates, gives feedback, or solves problems. Ask them which values they’ve leveraged most recently. Ask them how the culture of the organization has changed since they joined. Remember, you’re interviewing them too. Because you’re not only selecting a “job.” You’re selecting your environment, the ecosystem that will allow you to flourish."
– Tasha Hock, Head of Talent Acquisition
Learn more about Nowsta
"Be fearless: Don't worry about making a mistake or saying the wrong thing. Confidence is admitting mistakes and learning and improving for the next time. Create your opportunities: If you have an idea, share it with your peers and leaders. Frame the problem and how you propose to solve it to gain support. Embrace the chaos of life: Get out of your comfort zone and believe in yourself. Taking risks and growing is going to be uncomfortable. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, and enjoy the process."
- Penny Ashley-Lawrence, Chief Customer Officer
Learn more about WORKIVA
"Growing your career begins with the job search stage.
Do your research. A company that is in growth mode will likely need its people to grow with it.
Start career conversations early. During the interview process, be prepared to ask the questions that will help you better understand how the company’s values align with your professional goals and aspirations.
And once you've landed the role...
Challenge yourself daily. Take on more responsibility. Always add value. Be yourself."
- Bryan Hernandez, Director, Account Management at RTB House
Learn more about RTB HOUSE
After retiring from the NFL, Tristan Moss needed to figure out his next career step. Over the last 20 years, he’s built a successful sales career at Stryker, one of the world’s leading MedTech companies.
According to Tristan, one of the key factors to success is being a leader without the title, stating “I would rather have people respond to me because they respect me, and we’ve got a relationship, than because they report to me on an org chart.”
Want more? Check out his full story, and all five of his career tips on Stryker’s career blog.
Learn more about Stryker
“The greatest career advice that no one ever told me is how critical clear communication is to building trust and relationships with others at work. This can be true whether you’re working with your team, colleagues, customers or clients. Understanding how to effectively engage through well-timed and well-crafted communications is critical to fostering a high-trust environment where everyone can effectively meet their objectives and outcomes. For example, a new client recently shared that our team won their business in part because we were clear, responsive and purpose-driven communicators throughout the entire process. Communication that is also inclusive also helps to build the trust that is so critical to successful relationships in our professional lives.” - PwC Consulting Solutions Director Bryon Blohm
“Taking your career to the next level can look different for each person, but I have found that anticipating the needs of your leader and your organization to help your team move forward and always doing your tasks to the best of your ability have both been helpful for me throughout my career. I served in the U.S. Army for over 25 years, and I had the pleasure of deploying to Iraq with an Army Officer that is still a trusted mentor of mine to this day. He shared this advice with me nearly two decades ago. Over time, I have added one small addition to that advice when I share it and that is to be curious – ask questions that drive learning and innovate on ways to meet the challenges of today.”
- PwC Consulting Solutions Director Bryon Blohm
Learn more about PwC
Pitney Bowes has a year-round theme, #WomenWin@PB. In an interview, Irina Ashurova, Senior Director Data Development said, “I think the best inspiration is by example. It's important and inspiring to see that at Pitney Bowes we have so many women in different roles. We can see that the sky is the limit. We should listen to and encourage all voices. The lack of confidence to speak up is the biggest problem for women as I see it. It's important, especially if women come from different cultures, to show by example to help them to speak up.”
Learn more about Pitney Bowes
"Believe you can, and you are halfway there! Be bold in your pursuit, take chances and be open to new experiences."
- Smitha Vargheese, consultant in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industry practice.
She joined Deloitte through the Encore program. Read her story: Reentering the workforce – Life at Deloitte Blog | Deloitte US
Learn more about Deloitte
"Focus on continuous learning! One way to do this is by staying curious and seeking new growth opportunities beyond your job description. Embrace challenges, and don't be afraid to step into the shoes of your functional peers. This proactive approach showcases your initiative, ability to thrive in new situations, and dedication to expanding your skills. Engaging in cross-functional projects exposes you to fresh perspectives, helping you develop a comprehensive understanding of your industry. These diverse experiences foster adaptability and domain expertise, equipping you with a versatile skill set to tackle any obstacle throughout your career."
- Helen Xue, member of Atlassian's Communications team
Learn more about Atlassian