A successful career can take you far in life. It can help you achieve contentment and fulfilment. For some, it even gives them a sense of purpose. Working on your career in its early stages can also get you to your desired position earlier. Some young professionals make the mistake of taking it easy, thinking that they have more time ahead of them. However, you can take advantage of your limitless energy, drive, and hunger to work harder to climb up your career ladder.
From setting your career goals to dressing up for the part (dress shirt and work trousers for men and a power dress for the ladies), here are some tips to help you jumpstart your career early, even if it is your first job.
1. Set your goals.
To be able to get far in your chosen career and profession, you must have your goals. What do you want to achieve, or what do you want to do for a living? Which specialties do you want to master? When you have set your goals, it is easier to lay out a game plan.
Set milestones per goal. By setting benchmarks, you can easily track your progress.
2. Keep learning.
Once you have set your goals and your game plan, act on it. Develop a desire to learn and improve. Take online classes that are aligned with the goal and mastery that you want to achieve. Attend seminars and training that will help hone your technical skills, or learn relevant skills that will set you apart from the competition. Update your existing skills set. Learning should not stop when you step out of your college campus and land your first job. It should be a lifetime commitment to learn and update your qualifications continuously.
3. Work on your strengths.
Be aware of your strengths. Are you good at troubleshooting and problem-solving? How about planning? Are you good at managing people? Awareness of your own strengths is critical in your self-development strategy. Play them up and work them at your advantage—leverage where you’re good at.
Choosing a long-term profession would be easier if you also know your strengths. Your career should be aligned with your passion, best traits, and outstanding qualities, so the work will not feel forced upon you.
4. Work on your weaknesses as well.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should ignore your weaknesses. If you want to be a well-rounded professional, you should try to improve on your weakness as well. It pays if you know your liabilities. Improving your weaknesses can help your personal development and can increase your confidence.
Do you have poor interpersonal skills? Do you find speaking before an audience unnerving? You can work on these weaknesses to become more well-rounded. If you are an IT guy, you cannot stay behind your laptop forever. Sometimes you need to present your solutions to your managers and peers. If you are the type of who gets nervous every time he speaks before his peers, you can overcome your fear of public speaking by doing it often. Soon enough, you will gain more confidence to be more assertive and collaborative with your peers.
5. Do not settle for less.
Raise your standards, especially with yourself. Do not settle for mediocre output. Okay is good but strive for excellence. By setting your standards high, you are influencing your mind to think and behave in the same standards. You also end up working more so you can accomplish more.
6. Make friends.
A strategic network can take you to places. When you meet new people, you can create an opportunity for yourself and the other person. Who you know matters. Building professional relationships is essential. A strong network can help you land a job faster. It can help you stay on top of your industry. It also allows you to connect with possible mentors who can help you develop new skills and expertise.
7. Dress the part.
Do not go to work on a pair of faded jeans and a t-shirt. A dress shirt and a pair of work trousers can make you look put together. Dressing up for the part of a successful professional can make you feel like one. People who dress for success are more confident, and they feel more in control of the situation. If you cannot splurge for a corporate wardrobe just yet, you can start with the staples.
You cannot build a successful career overnight. It will take time and patience. By starting early, you can reach your career goal sooner than your peers.