Four career hacks backed up by science

Published September 6th, 2015 - 04:00 GMT

Having a fantastic career doesn’t require an act of magic. It requires lots of hard work, patience, and some psychological tricks and tips.

The best part is that you don’t even need a self-help book! There are some scientifically-sound tips and tricks that can really make all the difference:

Here’s How to Accomplish Your Goals

We’re all familiar with the common template for achieving goals: write down your goal, decide how you’ll measure it, and set a timeline. All the business gurus say so, don’t they? Well… the surprising truth is that there are many psychologists who actually say that this common template actually makes you less likely to accomplish your goals.

Psychologist Karl Weick argues that people often become overwhelmed and discouraged when faced with massive and complex problems. The solution? Instead of spending your time deciding how you’ll measure success for a huge goal, divide the goal into a series of “small wins” instead. So, if your dream is to become a the CEO of a really great organization,  instead of designing your goal to be “the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 15 years”, try a goal you can immediately action, for example: “Customize my CV tonight to make it perfect for the open vacancy at Apple.”

Here’s How to Win Over Colleagues, Clients and Everyone Else

Becoming a more likeable person can actually be as simple as applying a formula to your dealings with people.  The formula is very simple: it’s not about you, it’s about THEM: 1. Listen first, talk second. 2. Appeal to people’s egos by asking questions that make them feel really good about themselves. For example, if you want to become more likeable to your accountant, try the following question: “Can you explain to me about how income tax works? You’re such an expert on that.” This also works with clients. 3. Practice eye contact. Try noticing the color of people’s eyes. 4. Positive body language! Say hi when you pass by people’s cubicles, smile and don’t avoid eye contact. 5. Don’t worry too much about being perfect. In fact, the Pratfall Effect states that your likability will increase if you aren’t perfect. So, don’t worry too much.

Here’s How to Get a Promotion

The secret is one word: Confidence. Know what you’re good at and the value you provide, and act in a way that conveys that to others. Simply being more confident at work can increase the chances of you receiving a promotion. So, in a way, it’s not how good you are, it’s how good you believe you are. According to LifeHacker, a pilot study at the University of Melbourne found some correlation between confidence levels as early as primary school and success in the workplace as adults; while a study by the University of Texas showed that students who received some expression of confidence in their ability—even while receiving criticism—performed better later on than those who were simply told to aim for higher standards. So, I guess the old adage holds true: Fake it till you make it!

Here’s How to Solve a Problem Creatively

Do you have a problem you need to solve creatively but you find yourself stuck? Stop staring at your screen and clean up your desk instead. Researchers Kimberly Elsbach and Andrew Hargadon at the University of California found that “mindless” work increases your creativity. So, try to alternate between cognitively challenging tasks like brainstorming and “mindless” activities like cleaning up your desk. 

So, now you have 4 hacks to improve your career, according to science! If you have similar tips, please let us know and we’d love to publish them for you.

By Roba Assi

This article originally appeared in

This article and all other intellectual property on is the property of Reproduction of this article in any form is only permissible with written permission from

© 2000 - 2022 Al Bawaba (

You may also like