6 Career Development Habits of High Achievers

Your career development and progression will largely be a result of your weekly habits, rituals and routines. If you were able to look inside the daily schedule of a top performer, I am sure you will see a packed calendar of results producing tasks, actions and priorities that are a byproduct of an intentional strategy. How are you scheduling your time? Are your days “busy” or are they “productive”? What feelings and emotions do you have after each day, week, month? If you are not feeling excited, motivated and truly satisfied with your daily, weekly and monthly production, it may be time to revisit your priorities.

Here are 6 habits that you can create that will drastically influence your career development and progression:

1. Set goals and revisit them weekly
It is important to have short term and long term goals. What do you want to happen in the next 5 years, the next year, this month, this week. Goals must be in writing and be realistic. Companies will often require employees to have an Individual Development Plan (IDP) so documenting your goals may be established in your IDP. If not, take it upon yourself to define what you want for your career.


2. Scheduling
How you schedule your time is the foundation to your production. Take an inventory or your daily and weekly calendar to see if you are spending your time on the most productive tasks. If you are just filling your day with busy tasks, refocus your efforts to what will produce results and help you achieve your weekly goals, which will set you up for a good month, year and beyond.

3. Update your resume every 6 months
Develop the habit of updating your resume at least every 6 months. By documenting success after completing a project, achieving a key win for your team, implementing a program, completing a training, etc. It will keep your resume accurate, up to date and fresh. Otherwise, you may be tasked with trying to recall back 2 or 3 (maybe more) years of experience in order to make the needed updates for your next job search.

4. Networking – both live and digital
Growing your professional network should be a mandatory part of your weekly activities. In the current digital age, a minimum daily networking activity would be to send out invites or connection requests to colleagues, contacts, prospects, clients, etc. on LinkedIn and other Social networks where appropriate. Strategic digital engagement in the form of posting value based content should be combined with likes, shares and comments for key contacts in your targeted audience. I recommend attending live conferences and congresses several times each year. Live networking creates a lasting effect and deeper relationships over digital engagement.

5. Be a life long learner
Top achievers will set aside time (daily and weekly) for personal growth and development. Create the habit of reading 10 pages a day of a non-fiction book, listen to a 30 or 60 minute podcast, attend a webinar, seek out YouTube videos for areas you need to improve on, skill sets you need to harness.

6. Act like a top performer
If you want to be a top performer, act like a top performer. Every company has that one stand out that outperforms everyone else. Seek out that person and ask for an informational interview. Learn what their habits are, how they achieve their success and what advice they may be able to offer. Most people are willing to help and you may even wind up with a long term mentor.


Promotions and career achievement does not happen overnight. The future of your career will be forged in how you spend your time each day and each week. Take a pause right now…Schedule 30 minutes in your calendar to prepare an intentional strategy for incorporating the 6 habits mentioned above. Start small with daily tasks that will become habits but hold yourself accountable to adopt a plan and embrace a change. I look forward to watching your career reach new heights!

Tom Caravela

Tom Caravela has 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experience and is the Founder and Managing Partner of The Carolan Group and Host of the MSL Talk podcast. Founded in 2002, The Carolan Group is a leading pharmaceutical and biotech search firm specializing in Medical Affairs and Medical Science Liaison recruitment. Tom is responsible for leading a team of expert recruiters and account managers in client expansions for various levels of field-based and in-house Medical Affairs professionals, including Medical Science Liaisons, MSL Leaders, Managed Care/HEOR Liaisons, and Medical Directors, as well as various other medical and clinical affairs roles. With almost 3-decades of pharmaceutical industry experience, Tom is a frequent speaker and Medical Affairs Consultant for clients, advisory boards and industry meetings. His strategic interests focus on hiring, retention and career development for Medical Affairs professionals.