Lillie Guyer, an award-winning writer, reporter and editor with more than 30 years’ experience in the communications field, shares her career tips that can be used at any stage of your work life. A past Detroit AWC Headliner and board member, she is best known for covering the automotive industry.

Whether you are at entry, mid-point or later in your career, here are some key points to think about, things I wish I’d known “back then.”

  1. Be willing to go above and beyond – even if it makes you uncomfortable at times.
  2. Be flexible – bend without breaking, as I call it.
  3. Keep honing your writing skills; they are at the heart of any communications job and will get you noticed. And keep reading – books, magazines, articles – they reinforce your writing.
  4. Be a team player and a team leader; the two are not mutually exclusive. Help others shine or do their best. It will come back to you. Forgive those in your heart that you think have wronged you. It’s just a feeling that you can conquer.
  5. Focus on integrity on the job, as in life.
  6. Be willing to take calculated risks – and embrace change.
  7. Remember you will be recognized for merit – even if it’s not on your timetable. So, don’t quit when the heat is on – or give up. Get a career curveball? Hit it back.
  8. Focus on self-improvement and giving back. Remember President John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s saying: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Jobs are similar.
  9. Don’t worry if you find yourself confused – by projects or life. It’s what confuses you and sometimes terrifies you that can motivate you to succeed. From confusion comes clarity.
  10. Don’t leave a job until you’re really ready. Make sure it’s on your own terms, not someone else’s. You will know the signs. And the right time.
  11. Do what you love and the money will follow. I think there’s a book with a title like that.
  12. Be true to yourself – trust your gut, on the job and in life.

But my biggest tip is this: Discover and understand your core skills and keep polishing them to become the diamond you are.