Congratulations! You’ve gone and gotten yourself a “big-kid” job! Maybe it’s your first one right out of college, or maybe it’s the first one that has you thinking about developing a career. Either way, you’re probably asking the same question: What’s next?
Launching your career is exciting, but it’s also challenging. This is the time when you are laying the foundation for your professional journey. The steps you are taking now will have an impact on your future success. No pressure, right!
Don’t worry though, we are here to help. Our Five Capitals team is, well, older…
What this means is that we’ve walked through the early stages of our career. I took the time to reach out to some members of our team and find out what they did when they were first starting out. Here are the top 5 responses that were shared.
Set clear goals: There is a cheesy saying that goes like this: If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time. While this might seem trite, here’s the point I’m trying to make: begin with the end in mind. If you can set some early career goals for yourself, then something important will happen – you’ll be able to make better decisions. Take some time to think about your short term and long term goals for your career, and let these goals guide you as you get started.
Keep learning: From the first day on your new job, you have the opportunity to invest in yourself. Specifically, you can invest in your own education and your own skill development. You can take online courses, attend workshops, read articles, and anything else that helps you grow. When you focus on professional development, it’s going to make you smarter and better at your job. However, it is also going to keep you adaptable in a world and job market that is changing all the time. Remember, you are the most important asset that you bring into your career – so you owe it to yourself to make the investment.
Find your people: Starting a new career can be both lonely and intimidating. If you want to start your new career on the right foot, you don’t need to do it alone. There are two types of relationships you need to develop in the early stages of your professional career. First, you need a peer network. These are colleagues and industry peers that face similar challenges and opportunities in their work life. Building a network on LinkedIn, attending industry events, or joining networking groups can help you get much needed support as you launch into your career. Second, you need a mentor. This is a person who has experience in your field that is willing to offer you guidance and support. These mentors can be hard to find at first, but the more you network, the more connections you will make with people who can help you.
Develop those soft skills: If you’re unfamiliar with the term, soft skills are the non-technical things that can help you succeed in your early career. These are things such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, and executive presence. You can be amazing at your job, but if you don’t have good people skills, then there will be a ceiling on your success. At Five Capitals, we have a year-long program called The Next Level Leader, that is designed to help you level these skills. You can find out more about that program at www.fivecapitals.net.
Pay attention to your work-life balance: Here is a truth that you need to know – no one else will set boundaries for you. If you set yourself up as the person who answers emails 24/7, or works all weekend, then people will start to expect that from you. My advice? Set healthy boundaries from the beginning. This doesn’t mean you don’t work hard. You’re at the beginning of your career, which means you should be working hard and showing initiative wherever you can. What I’m suggesting is that you work hard during work and then make sure you are protecting yourself from working all the time. If you do this, you’ll avoid the number one thing that cuts careers short – burnout.
The start of a career is such an exciting time that is packed with opportunity. By following these five strategies, you can set yourself up for a professional life that is everything you want it to be. Don’t forget, this kind of growth takes time. Stay patient, persistent, and proactive as you navigate the early stages of your professional life. If you want to supercharge your early career growth, consider working with a coach from Five Capitals. Our coaches specialize in helping people reach their goals, and you’ll love having someone in your corner as you take this journey. You can check out the available coaches at fivecapitals.net.