"My best advocate is me."
March 31, 2015
No one wants to stay in an entry-level position for long. There are many reasons why people want to advance quickly in their career, but the issue can be how to get where you want to go as quickly as possible. While every career path has its own unique story, there are general principles that will help jumpstart your career.
1. Obtain an internship
Finishing your undergrad degree is an extremely valuable commodity, and obtaining an internship during school or over summer breaks is a very close second. An internship not only gives you experience in your field, it also gives you access to a network of people that would typically be out of your reach. Internships are built to give you experience in your field, which translates to an advantage over your peers.
An expert from Cardinal Health, Jessica, said this in reference to internships, “A goal of our internship program is to retain our top performing interns. These are interns who have gone ‘above and beyond’ in their internship role and/or projects and have taken full advantage of all opportunities presented through the internship program. We find that these interns have a strong work ethic, are flexible, and have developed their leadership, communication and analytical skills. All of these characteristics are beneficial when transitioning to a full-time position.”
2. Continue your education
No matter what field you choose for your career, furthering your education will be invaluable to climbing the ladder. This doesn’t always mean getting your master’s degree, but it does mean that you should be constantly learning what’s new in your field. To continue to advance your knowledge after graduation you should attend conferences, obtain new training, listen to podcasts, and even try to audit classes at your local college.
3. Be professional, show up early, stay late
A lot of fast tracking your career is demonstrating on a regular basis that you’re ahead of your peers. Some entry-level workers simply lack professionalism and drive. Make sure you dress the part and work hard every day of the week.
An expert from Kellogg’s, Shaughn, said that most entry-level workers lack some of these basic skills. “The one commonality amongst new hires is the lack of corporate etiquette. One should do their best to familiarize themselves with the company culture, dress code, social networking policy, and other various company regulations.”
4. Moonlight on a project
Moonlighting on a project is more than just staying late. It’s a way for you to get a more personal and targeted work experience outside of your daily tasks. Choose a project that is going to expand your knowledge, skills, and network. Ask yourself, what project would make you valuable to your current employer or look great on a resume?
5. Network, network, network
Networking may be the most underrated way to advance your career quickly. Anyone you know is in your network, and could possibly be the person who helps you fast track your career. If you’re looking for ways to expand your network, contact the career center at your university. They exist to help you make connections to further your employment opportunities.
As Nicole from ManpowerGroup put it, “[Networking] is something you should really work on because networking is so important in the job search process. Look at it this way, if someone approached you and asked you for help would you be offended? Most people like to help others and are happy to do what they can. Maybe start networking with friends and family first until you become comfortable enough to extend your network.”
6. Stay humble
One of the best ways to implode your career is believe you’ve got it all figured out. No one likes the person who thinks they’re nature’s gift to the work force. Keep an open mind, and don’t deceive yourself into believing you have it all figured out. Ask questions of your coworkers and heed their advice. You may be the smartest person in the room, but if you’ll be just ‘one of the team,’ people will want to work with you and you’ll go further faster.