For many of us, building a successful career is a goal that drives us throughout our life. You may be aiming for a big salary, to be an expert at the top of your field, or for personal fulfilment and happiness.

Whatever your focus, keeping track of your career development and ensuring that you continue to move forward is key to achieving your goals. To do this and stay motivated, it’s extremely helpful to listen to experts from time to time.

If you’re looking to be inspired and gain practical tips on boosting your career development, you’ve come to the right place. Our list of unmissable TED Talks cover a range of issues from building confidence and moving up the ladder to handling stress and striking a work-life balance. Let’s take a look.

How to find the person who can help you get ahead at work – Carla Harris

The workplace is often presented as a meritocracy, where you can succeed by putting your head down and working hard. Wall Street veteran Carla Harris learned early in her career that this a myth. The key to actually getting ahead? Get a sponsor: a person who will speak on your behalf in the top-level, closed-door meetings you’re not invited to (yet). Learn how to identify and develop a productive sponsor relationship in this candid, powerful talk.

The secrets of people who love their jobs – Shane Lopez

Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D., is the world’s leading researcher on hope. His mission is to help people of all ages exercise some control over what their future can become and to teach them how to aim for the future they want in school, work and life.

How to make hard choices – Ruth Chang

Here’s a talk that could literally change your life. Which career should I pursue? Should I break up — or get married?! Where should I live? Big decisions like these can be agonizingly difficult. But that’s because we think about them the wrong way, says philosopher Ruth Chang. She offers a powerful new framework for shaping who we truly are.

How to make work-life balance work – Nigel Marsh

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. At TEDxSydney, Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

Looking for a job? Highlight your ability, not your experience – Jason Shen

Very few of us hold jobs that line up directly with our past experiences or what we studied in college. Take TED Resident Jason Shen; he studied biology but later became a product manager at a tech company. In this quick, insightful talk about human potential, Shen shares some new thinking on how job seekers can make themselves more attractive — and why employers should look for ability over credentials.

How to get back to work after a career break – Carol Fishman Cohen

If you’ve taken a career break and are now looking to return to the workforce, would you consider taking an internship? Career reentry expert Carol Fishman Cohen thinks you should. In this talk, hear about Cohen’s own experience as a 40-year-old intern, her work championing the success of “relaunchers” and how employers are changing how they engage with return-to-work talent.

Being brilliant every single day – Dr Alan Watkins

When you find yourself in a high-pressure situation you may find all of your knowledge and training deserts you and instead you stumble through a speech. Alan is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance and he offers a simple solution to regain control.

The career advice you probably didn’t get – Susan Colantuono

You’re doing everything right at work, taking all the right advice, but you’re just not moving up. Why? Susan Colantuono shares a simple, surprising piece of advice you might not have heard before quite so plainly. This talk, while aimed at an audience of women, has universal takeaways — for men and women, new grads and midcareer workers.

Your body language may shape who you are – Amy Cuddy

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success.

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