Getting a job is only the first step to career success. What you do when you’re just starting out is what makes the difference between advancement and stagnation. From Vickie Milazzo, author of Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley), comes this advice for recent college graduates starting their first jobs, and anyone else who wants to move up:
• Develop your nose for business. Take this time to really study up on your industry. Read industry magazines, and attend events if you can. Being able to talk intelligently about the state of your industry will be a huge selling point for you.
• Be your own problem-solver. Great employees don’t passively wait for the boss to tell them what to do. Figure out solutions on your own.
• Build relationships, not just your résumé. In most industries, success really is about whom you know. Spend time with people who inspire you, who give you good advice, and who help you laugh.
• Strengthen your face-to-face communication skills. You won’t be respected at any company unless you can clearly communicate with people from all levels. Watch more experienced professionals to pick up on their techniques for quality communication. Re-read your emails to make sure they’re clear. And show that you’re really listening to everyone.
• Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Seek out a mentor who can help you learn about your job and industry. The relationship can be hugely beneficial as you gain experience.
• Trust your instincts. Work on tuning into your intution and trusting what it has to say. You’ll find that it rarely steers you wrong.