I know that many of us on here are seasoned professionals, but today I want to speak briefly to those that are just starting out. In order to build a successful career in a competitive workforce, here are some key steps to take now!
Take Your Career Seriously
Few of us are lucky enough to land our dream job straight after graduation. Instead of going into your first position with the it's-only-temporary mindset, tackle it head on as if this is where you will be for the next 30 years. Take the opportunity to learn as much as possible. Also strive to make positive contributions and to develop relationships that may benefit you down the road. Getting where you want to be requires you to put in some time at the bottom of the ladder. If you are serious about your duties and always work to the best of your abilities, new opportunities are sure to come!
Seek Out Advice
Far too often young professionals are hesitant in asking for advice or support. Speak up! Find yourself a mentor and make the most of what they can offer you. Even if you only eat lunch together, ask them about what they've learned and any other questions you may have. No one expects a new team member to know it all and serious professionals know how to get what they need. A mentor to rely on can be your biggest asset.
Continue Your Education
Some professions have mandated professional development. If you are in one of these professions, take advantage of every training session you can attend! If you're not offered company professional development, you need to take the initiative to continue learning. Spend your time commuting brushing up on news, learning about new companies or technologies. Sign up for a course each semester. Ask for help learning how to use all the available technology at your job. The business world changes constantly and you need to keep ahead of it.
Push Past Your Comfort Zone
If you're offered a task that seems like it will be over your head, consider accepting it anyway! The best way to learn is by doing and if you never challenge yourself, you'll never grow. Tackling difficult tasks or assignments will help you expand you expand on your skill set and earn you new qualifications to help build your career. You'll gain a better understanding of where you want to end up versus what you know you never want to do again. To have a fulfilling career that you enjoy, challenging yourself can provide immeasurable insight and opportunity.
As professionals get more serious at younger ages, the competition for rewarding career positions will continue to intensify. You'll spend the next 30 years plus working. By getting serious about your career now and implementing these career building keys, you can spend those 30 years building a career you actually enjoy.