Your career journey: tips for success

3 Jun 2014

Anthony Matis, CPA Australia's General Manager for Business Development and Education has been incredibly successful in a range of roles across corporate service and audit as well is in senior finance positions.

From his wealth of experience, Mr Matis has detailed some important lessons on how to make the most of your own career journey.

The first lesson is about articulation and how you position yourself.

Mr Matis suggests that most people have relevant skills that they never recognise of themselves.

“If you have always balanced the till, it shows that you’re trustworthy; if you’ve never got an order wrong, it shows you have attention to detail,” Mr Matis said.

“It's not always obvious to showcase our basic skills, but it's easy when you stop and think about it.” 

The second lesson is in having a strong work ethic.

“There may be people that are smarter than you, but that will not matter if you work harder,” Mr Matis said.

An integral component of working your way to where you want to be is adopting an “I will” mantra.

“‘I will’ got me a lot of long hours, a lot of not-so-glamorous jobs and a lot of valuable life lessons,” Mr Matis said.

“I don't care where you want to work; accounting or finance, architecture or arts, if you make a commitment and say ‘I will’, you will be ahead of the pack.”

Adopting an ‘I will’ mantra cannot be done reluctantly.

“In life you can accept something or you can embrace it,” Mr Matis said.

“Accepting something means that you don’t like it, but you’ll take it whereas embracing something means that you love it unconditionally.”

By establishing what we want to embrace rather than accept, we have the potential to find a fulfilling career.

While we often consider careers in the sense of what we want to be when we grow up, Mr Matis suggests that we should reverse this kind of thinking.

“Work out what you don't want to be in life and then you can work out what you want to do through a process of elimination,” Mr Matis said.

The third lesson is recognising that your technical ability in a role, no matter what your role is, will only carry you so far.

Matis estimates that only 10 per cent of any given role is technical. The other 90 per cent is based on our interactions with people.

“It's the way in which you articulate collaborate and integrate within the organisation that will see success,” Mr Matis said.

“There are a lot of roles where it seems that your job description defines you but in reality you will always be more than that.”

We are taught a lot of things in university, how to be smart in our respective disciplines, how to get through an interview process, how to put our CV together but we're never taught about the little elements that tie this all together.

The fourth lesson focusses on harnessing these elements and creating a positive personal brand.

“We start to build profiles on you before you've set foot in the workplace.” Mr Matis said.

An employer doesn't just hire you for the job that's advertised, they hire you to represent their brand and for this reason, you must have a strong sense of your personal brand.

Mr Matis highlights how impactful your style of dress can be; as the adage goes, you dress for success.

“If you look good, you feel good and that comes through whether you recognise it or not,” Mr Matis said.

A pleasant phone manner is another crucial element that Mr Matis discusses.

“I have a very important rule when I speak on the phone,” Mr Matis said.

“If it is pre-midday, I will say good morning, if it's post-midday, I will say good afternoon and if it's after six, I will say good evening; there are no exceptions.”

“Even when I answer calls from my mum I say ‘good morning, this is Anthony speaking’ and after a slight pause, ‘hi mum!’”

Phone manner is not limited to how you answer your phone, but also how you don’t answer it.

Mr Matis suggests that you should not feel compelled to answer a phone just because it is ringing.

“The minute you take the call, you lose control of the call,” Mr Matis said.

Mr Matis suggests that there is nothing wrong with calling an employer back and answering the call in your own time, as long as you have an appropriate voicemail account.

“Voicemail is a crucial element of your personal brand, because every time a caller ends up there, your image is on the line,”

There are many other elements of online reputation management as detailed in last weeks dgitial edition but the overarching message is clear;

“You can lose money and make more, but if you lose your name, you can never get it back,” Mr Matis said.

The final lesson is to think outside the box when approaching the career that you want.

“We tend to think that the only way to get a job is through the front door,” Mr Matis said.

“I suggest looking at the side doors, the window, the skylight, the back door or going in through the garage.”