Have you just graduated, or is graduation just around the corner? If so, there is no doubt that you are ready for your next step which is career success. The question is this. What is the best and fastest way for you to get on the path to career success? Here is some great news. You don’t need to work for decades! You can obtain success quickly.
Here is an uncomfortable truth; the majority of the students in your graduating class aren’t going to do anything spectacular. They will work nice jobs. Maybe they will work their way up the ladder and earn a few promotions, but their career trajectory will be quite ordinary. The reason for this is simple. They will take the most traveled path and do all of the conventional things that they are told to do. If you want something different than that, here are 5 things you can do to accomplish your goals.
- Change The Way You Think About Experience
Too many students and recent graduates mistakenly believe that their opinions and ideas are not as relevant as others simply because they don’t have very much experience. Put those thoughts out of your mind. Experience is, for the most part irrelevant.
That’s right! It doesn’t matter. The guy in the office down the hall who’s been on the job for 10 years? There is a great chance that he’s done nothing to learn, grow, or adapt in the past 8 years. That’s not ten years of experience. That’s 2 years of experience multiplied by 5. Years on the job is no indication of creativity or motivation.
Now, if you do find somebody who is truly experienced, is insightful, and is a real leader, get to know that person. Use them as an example and a mentor, but never doubt the value of your skills and opinions simply based on a number.
- Act Like an Entrepreneur
Even if your ultimate goal isn’t to own your business, but to earn your stripes as a leader in your field in other ways, the best way to fast track yourself is to think and like an entrepreneur. Whenever possible, put yourself in the shoes of the CEO, and consider what would matter to them. Ask yourself these questions when faced with a problem or vetting out an idea:
- Will this help the bottom line?
- How will this impact employee morale?
- Is this in the best interests of the investors/the community/the employees?
- Is this decision right for the brand?
- Is this ethical?
- Will this create growth?
- Will this result in innovation or process improvement?
Your first work assignments may not be earth shattering, but there is no time like right now to learn to think from the perspective of a boss or business owner. This will benefit you in the future when you try to find a job with bigger and better opportunities.
- Hang Out With The Bigwigs
Don’t be afraid to approach people in positions of power simply because you are new on the job or new in your field. If you are at work, be assertive! Introduce yourself to executives and other members of upper management. If you are at an industry event, find out who the influencers are and introduce yourself. You will benefit in the future when they can associate your name with your face.
Remember that if you want to advance in your career, you have to behave as if you already belong there. Your confidence will be admired, and you may just meet the person who can help you meet your goals.
- Make Yourself a Leader
If you don’t see leadership opportunities around you right now, you aren’t looking hard enough. Volunteer to head up a small project or a segment of a project. If somebody needs something followed up on, be the person that does that. If you see someone struggling to keep up, let it be known that you are willing to help.
Of course, the best thing that you can do to be seen as a leader is to think up effective ideas and present them to the people you work for. Your good ideas, more than anything else will be the springboard you need.
- Don’t Wait to Make Your Move
Go after your dreams now. Don’t wait until you have more experience, more savings, or more job security. If you want more experience, tackle tough projects and put yourself out there. If you want financial security, create that by creating a business or career that allows you to make that happen right now.
- Make Your Presence Known in Your Field
If you want to have a successful career, or open your own business you should take every opportunity to make your presence known. Here are a few things you can do to help yourself:
- Create a personal website where you blog about your industry, share your story, and keep a portfolio of your work
- Join professional associations in your field and then actually attend the meetings
- Offer to write a column for a trade magazine
- Attend trade shows and conventions
- Friend and follow industry leaders on social media
Forget the 20 year plan. Forget the 5 year plan. There are things you can do to get your career going right now.