At the start of any new job, whether it was your first gig flipping burgers or your first nine-to-five, you’ve likely had a career veteran talk your ear off with all of their working-world wisdom.
Maximize in Experience, Not Money
The get-rich-quick gimmick is every person’s dream after leaving college or university. They picture themselves suiting up and somehow bringing home a pretty penny without any prior experience to back them up.
While it’s not wrong for money to be a motive (because to some extent it very well is), it shouldn’t come at the expense of your opportunity to learn and grow as a professional. Especially when you’re new to a specialization, aim for a role that’s development-first. And, if you’re in the middle of a job switch, don’t be afraid to take a small, temporary pay cut. The experience you receive today will equip you with the proper skills to get you to that dream salary down the road.
A Resumé Just Isn’t Enough
This past January, I wrote a piece: “Why we should all knock the resumé off its pedestal.” In it, I explained why resumés should no longer be top-of-mind for applicants for one very simple reason: leverage.
If everyone else, all equally qualified, is sending their resumé, what will make an employer choose you over the next person? You have to find that special something that’ll make you memorable: build your presence online, initiate conversations with recruiters, go out and network – which brings me to tip number three.
Don’t Just Network to Say You’ve Networked
We’ve all heard this piece of advice on the job search before: “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.”
Landing a job simply because you know someone may have worked before. But today, finding success in the job search relies both on what you know and who you know.
For instance, let’s say you meet a recruiter at a networking mixer and hit it off over a beer and a good sports conversation. Don’t expect them to hand you a job because you had a couple of things in common. Instead, give your network a reason to vouch for you, and understand that relationship building takes time. Networking is a two-way street, so make them believers in your abilities – that’s how you’ll find your way in.
Find a Peoples-Boss
We all strive for a flashy title working at a flashy company. But as you start or continue your career, finding someone you can benefit from working with outweighs the advantages of simply finding a company you can work for.
Mentorship, communication, and collaboration are keys to successful career development. So find a boss who can also be a mentor and will applaud you as you move up.
When You Stop Learning, Leave
At some point at a job, it won’t be as exciting to come to work every morning. It can happen a year or a decade into your employment. But when that time comes, don’t be afraid to find something new.
Leaving doesn’t discredit your commitment to your employer. Instead, it’s a disservice to you and your professional development. The competition to move up in your career won’t get any easier. There are constantly new skills to be learned and professionals to meet.
So when you find yourself at a standstill at work, consider Steve Jobs’ line from his guest speech at the 2005 Stanford University commencement: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And if the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”