If you’re just starting out your professional career, it’s important to think about building a solid professional foundation from the start. Understanding the world of business from a young age can help set the stage for years of success down the road. No matter what industry you find yourself in, there are certain key aspects that span across all lines of business. From understanding the chain of command, to learning the best way to tackle tough professional situations, here’s a look at things every young professional should know.
5 Things Every Young Professional Should Know
1. Networking is the name of the game. When you’re first starting out and are thrust directly into in office or professional situation, it can be completely intimidating. Your initial inclination might be to hide out at your desk with your head down, getting your work done. But, at the end of the day, that will get you nowhere. Now – hard work certainly does pay off – there’s no doubt about that – but becoming part of the professional community is just as important. Turns out – the professional relationships you build early on will help grow your career in ways you never knew possible. Take part in office activities, learn to look to more experienced team members for advice and general conversation, chat with people. In a nutshell – build relationships.
2. Always find a way to over-deliver. Rather than simply coming in on par with projects, use this as a time to surprise your supervisor by adding a little something here and there. Do your research – or even a little extra – to make sure you have the background in place when he or she starts asking questions. Being prepared with some extra info never hurts – and although they may not always ask for it – you’ll feel confident and knowledgeable, which shows.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Even though you might feel like the annoying newbie, let those feelings go and ask away! Asking questions is how you know exactly what to deliver and will help you hit the bulls eye each time rather than feeling like you’re missing the mark.
4. Be proud of your position, even if it’s only entry-level. We all have to start somewhere, right? School and college can teach you loads of things, but on-the-job training is most often where a career is born. Learning the skills for the position and understanding how to navigate the office politics comes with experience – and often, there’s no other way to get that than starting from the bottom and working your way up. Be proud of yourself and take pride in your role!
5. Leave your emotions at home and come to the office ready to tackle challenges with a level head. Office politics can feel totally overwhelming, but in the end it’s really just a lot of egos feeling the heat of competition. Be prepared to deal with a few not-so-pleasant people (it happens!) – from clients to colleagues. Despite the challenges that come your way, stay clear-headed and keep your eye on the prize: being a quality employee who has set out to achieve some goals. When the going gets tough, keep your emotions out of the game and remind yourself – its business.
Are you new to the professional world? What aspects of career life do you find most challenging?