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5 Tips for Thriving Early in Your Career

Young BIPOC woman working in an industrial workplace

Congratulations, you just landed your first job! You’re excited, nervous, and confident—all at the same time. However, while the early career stage can be mentally and emotionally challenging, but it is also full of exciting opportunities. You have much to learn, and so much of what you’ll do as a professional is still unknown. If you establish good habits early on in your career and work to keep them going, you’ll make for a more productive and successful employee overall. Here are five helpful tips for developing a successful career.

Make Asking for Feedback a Habit

Asking for feedback is scary, but it’s also the best way to take your performance to the next level. Try to get feedback from your manager and colleagues on an ongoing basis. Make it a point to set aside time with your leader to regularly reflect on your performance and growth. Consider asking for this feedback at the beginning of a project or when you notice a problem that needs correcting.

Whenever possible, ask for feedback in person. If that’s not possible, try calling or texting instead of emailing—this will increase the chances that your request won’t get buried in someone’s inbox and forgotten about. You can also get feedback from peers and others who know you well. This can be especially helpful if you want to hear how other people perceive your work ethic or style.

Remember You Don’t Know Everything

One of the biggest mistakes people make early in their careers is acting like they know everything. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something — and ask for help. This isn’t something that comes naturally to many people, but it’s crucial for your long-term career success. The benefits of asking are tremendous: you’ll learn more, get better at your job, and build strong relationships with others at work. For example, if you’re working on a project that requires specific technical skills or knowledge, don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance. You may learn something new — and gain valuable insight into how things work around the office.

There are also general work skills and expectations you’ll want to get familiar with if you haven’t been in a professional setting before. For example, what are the expectations regarding meeting deadlines, the tools in the workplace you’ll be using, breaktime etiquette, requesting time off, or taking sick days? What kinds of documentation is required, and how should it be stored? How do you handle errors or problems with customers or colleagues? In addition to doing what you’re supposed to do, are there projects or particular tasks that will help your career? If so, ask about these opportunities.

Be Willing to Learn New Things

Take advantage of the fact that you’re new to your career. Find a few trustworthy people and pick their brains – most individuals will be happy to help someone just starting out in their career. People expect you to bring a particular knowledge bank as you grow in your career. For example, if you’re in a new customer service position, ask your supervisor or other people who have been there longer than you what they wish they knew when they first started. If someone offers valuable advice, don’t dismiss it simply because it’s not what you expected. If it works for them, it may work for you as well.

Being open to others’ thoughts and ideas is vital to growth at every career stage. Learning from others is one of the best ways to get ahead. You can make it clear that you’re open to learning from everyone in the workplace by asking questions about processes or procedures so you can understand them better. If you need help when trying something new or unfamiliar, ask for it. Also, make sure you recognize the people who help you out or teach you something. If they know that their input is appreciated, they will be more willing to help you again in the future.

Embrace Your Professional Journey

When you’re just starting out in your professional journey, all jobs will seem attractive at first. However, as you learn more about your interests and personality, you’ll realize that some kinds of work are better suited to you than others. The key is not to get discouraged if something doesn’t work out right away. You might need to take a job that offers financial stability while you continue applying for your career field of choice. Keeping an open mind and a positive attitude will help you find your dream job.

In addition to embracing your career journey, several other things can help make it easier. Be flexible — you may not land your perfect job right away, so don’t beat yourself up over it! If you see two or three positions that seem like they’ll help you achieve the career success you ultimately desire but aren’t exactly what you want right now, apply anyway. There’s no harm in applying for “close enough” jobs until something comes along that’s exactly what you want.

Remember Soft Skills are Important

It’s important to continually hone your soft skills—those skills that are useful in any industry or job. Soft skills include written and verbal communication, time management, and the ability to work well in a team. If you’re interested in leadership roles, cultivating your conflict-resolution and problem-solving skills can help you succeed. Even if your company doesn’t offer workplace learning programs, reading self-help books or listening to audiobooks can bolster your abilities.

It can be both frightening and inspiring if you start your career. However, if you establish good habits early on in your career, it will make a difference as you move forward. By cultivating an approach of consistent feedback and connection, embracing you don’t know everything, learning new things, and remembering that soft skills are essential—you’ll be well on your way to establishing yourself within your professional journey.

About EG Workforce Solutions

We’ve been in this business for decades and have developed a deep network of professional connections. Whether they’re companies looking for talent, job seekers looking for work, or an up-and-coming store in need of some temporary help, we know the right people to bridge the gap between the hiring and the hired.

But what’s more, we get to know people. From employers hiring to candidates looking, we take the time to listen and learn. We hear your likes, talents, and needs. We gain an understanding, and with it, we’re able to facilitate lasting relationships between businesses and people.

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