How to manage your career – 10 top tips

Make time to plan. Most of us will spend more time organising our annual holiday than we will planning our career! Treat your career as if it were your own business - think about your skill set as a product and market it to the right people, at the right time.

Don’t be over ambitious. Be realistic in your expectations or you are bound to be disappointed - it's no good aiming to be CEO in the next two years if you are 21 and at the beginning your career. Know your strengths and weaknesses - and above all, know your limitations.

Keep your own counsel. If you have a position in mind that you really want to go for either in your own company or another - don't advertise your plans too much - no-one likes power hungry executives and, more importantly - someone may just beat you to it!

Stay well informed - read widely and get to know your company and the industry inside out so that you can discuss topical issues with confidence. Get to know, and keep close to, the person whose job you may want - he/she will often have a lot of influence over a successor.

Consider what you have achieved on a regular basis - note those achievements and make sure that the appropriate people in your organisation are made aware of them. If you don't produce a regular written report, suggest to your boss that you do so that he/she can keep abreast of your performance.

Think about self-image and getting yourself known - not just in your own organisation but in the business world at large - don't underestimate the power of networking - you never know when that headhunt call may come or when you will meet someone useful.

Support the efforts of more junior staff -this will foster loyalty and goodwill and get you the reputation of being a good person to work for If you are responsible for staff yourself, make sure you recruit a strong team who will complement your skills.

Don't underestimate the role of recruitment consultancies. They may be your means of escaping a company that no longer holds your interest. It may help you with an alternative strategy which gets you to your career goal faster and therefore gives you the opportunity to gain broader based experience.

Keep in contact with a consultancy even if you are not actively seeking a new position. It helps to know that you are still marketable and that your "sell by date" has not expired. You also stay in touch with what is available in the market and it gives a useful benchmark.

Don’t get so emotionally tied to a company that your judgement of your place within it becomes clouded- and don’t confuse commitment with loyalty. Your commitment should be to your company while it commits to you – your loyalty should be to yourself.

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