If you are a recent college graduate, or are new to the working world, you may wonder how you can start creating a lasting impact and impression. Glassdoor recently posted an article by Heidi Alderman in which she describes a few proven facts on how you can make a lasting impression within your first ten years in the working world.
Find Someone to Be Your Champion
Everyone needs guidance throughout a career, and mentors can play crucial roles in your professional development. Whether they teach you better ways to do certain tasks, provide criticism that’s constructive — albeit difficult to hear — or even protect you from uncomfortable or difficult people, or situations, you’ll gain so much from the wisdom a mentor imparts. And if they’re as good as they should be, they’ll stick around to watch you grow, and make sure you’re always doing your best. You might stumble out into the workplace anyway, but with some guidance, the journey is just a little bit easier.
Don’t Just Do What You Know
Try different jobs! What are you good at? In a not-so-fun twist, you’ll often learn the answer only after learning what you’re not good at. Companies with entry-level rotational programs offer a tremendous benefit in this area. That doesn’t mean do the same job in a different area, but that you actually learn new roles and responsibilities. For example, I was working in marketing when I had an opportunity to try raw material procurement, which I had never thought of before. I was able to leverage my analytical skills as an engineer to track and predict raw material price formulas, but I learned so much about negotiating, developing legal contracts and developing supplier strategies. If I hadn’t had the role in procurement, I never would have been considered for the SVP of Procurement role at BASF almost 10 years later.
Don’t Jump Ship… Too Soon!
People in the workforce today look like they’re playing a game of Frogger. For some, it’s become a habit to jump from job to job, in search of better titles and more pay. Unfortunately, you might actually miss out on key elements of learning if you aren’t patient and willing to get the most of out of the role you’re in. What you should be focused on is making an impact, and contributing something to the role that no one else has brought to it before. Make it better, faster, cheaper, more efficient; take initiative and you’ll reap better rewards than if you’re always rushing to the next thing.
That being said, know when it’s time to move on. Eventually, there will come a time when you’ll know it’s time to leave your position. Has your learning curve flattened? Have the challenges of the role worn off? Are you bored? There’s no harm in making a change when you come to this realization. Be appreciative of what you’ve learned and use it to improve your new work environment.
Don’t Shoot for CEO (Yet)
You’re shaping who you are, in your profession and in your life, every step of the way. But if you’re too preoccupied on a long-term end goal (like becoming a Fortune 500 CEO), it can be easy to miss out on the smaller facets of your own development that are necessary to get there. True leaders never land where they are without going through “grunt work” first, because it’s not only educational, but humbling. Treasure the times that you stumble, too; you may not know it at the time, but one day, you’ll look back and realize how those mistakes led you to where you are. Getting to the C-suite doesn’t happen overnight.
Be True to Your School!
Engaging with your alumni network can be a valuable resource, both professionally and personally, whether you’re on the job hunt, looking to make business partnerships or just want to connect with fellow students who share a common bond. Additionally, these groups are often heavily engaged in their communities through volunteerism and charity work, sports teams and social activities, which can also be a comfort to those looking to give back to their communities and make new friends.
Ultimately, work to live, don’t live to work! You’ve heard this one before. Life’s short and it’s not promised, so choose work that’s fun, gives you a sense of accomplishment and enriches your life — and also empowers you to have an impact on your surroundings. When you love what you do, it’s so much easier to love everything else around you. In the end, you won’t be remembered for your sales numbers or presentations or closed deals, but the impact you made on others.
To read the full article, click here!