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Asked by David on July 21, 2015

What's the best piece of career advice you received when you were just starting out?

Answered by Peggy, Hiring Expert at Emerson, on July 22, 2015

The best piece of advice I received was to do an internship(s) in my chosen career field, whether it be paid or unpaid, and if I couldn't do that, then volunteer in that area.  This allowed me to apply the theoretical knowledge I learned in a practical application.

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Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on July 22, 2015

The best piece of career advice I received when I was just starting out was: Do not settle. Find a job that you are excited and passionate about, and be open to change. Since this is a very good job market, do not take a position that you will not happy in. Finding the right job is hard work, your happiness and satisfaction levels will affect your overall productivity levels, which in turn will affect whether you are successful in your position. Since you are just starting out, do not limit yourself to the endless opportunities that surround you by only considering one area of the United States. There could a great job in another area that you never considered. Flexibility widens your ability to find the right career path and provides you the ability to grow as an individual.

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Answered by Maya, Hiring Expert at Verizon, on July 22, 2015

One of the best pieces of career advice I received was from one of my college professors – specifically, an HR Compensation professor. His advice was to be willing to negotiate your salary, instead of immediately accepting the first offer you receive. The rate you receive at your first job will often impact your future salary for subsequent jobs throughout your career. Preparing for negotiation begins before you even interview for a position. Research the company, industry, and position, and determine the market value salary range for the job of interest. This way, when the company asks you what your expected salary is, you will be prepared with a researched salary range to provide the recruiter or hiring manager. Be sure to consider the entire compensation package, including bonuses, commissions, health benefits, 401(K), perks, etc.

You will also want to evaluate what is important to you in a job. What do you value? Would you be willing to relocate for a position? What would a job have to offer in order for you to be willing to endure a long commute? In what kind of organizational culture would you thrive? Are you willing to take a lower salary in return for a positive work environment? Knowing yourself is just as important as knowing the company, position, and industry, when it comes to negotiation and your career in general.

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Answered by Lori, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on July 23, 2015

The best piece of advice that I received starting out, and that I share with others, is to not make a career decision solely based on money. When looking at opportunities you should evaluate if you could see yourself doing the role if you took the money out of the equation. Don't get me wrong, it is wonderful if you can find a role you love doing AND it pays you very well, but more often than not, if you make a career decision based on which is the higher salary, you will end up with regrets. No amount of amount will be enough if you truly do not enjoy the work you are doing on a day to day basis. Take a step back and look at what you enjoy doing in your free time and see if you can incorporate that into your career decision. Those are the type of positions which will keep you motivated to go to every day and that is where you typically find your true passions. The other piece of advice that I have learned through the years is that it is OK to not always feel comfortable in your career. Don't be afraid to take on new challenges and learn new responsibilities; those are the times when you are growing the most and will ultimately make the greatest strides in your career.

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Answered by Sara, Hiring Expert at American Express, on July 24, 2015

The best piece of career advice I recieved was to know and be able to tell my story. It's not an easy thing to talk about yourself, goals, and your accomplishments in a natural way so it's good to practice so you don't stumble since it's usually the very first thing an interviewer will ask you about.
(The other best advice was to be myself. You can't fake your personality in your job day to day, so show them who you are up front because that's who they want to work with!)  

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on July 27, 2015

This is such a great inquiry that i wanted to ask around a little bit and collect the thoughts of a couple of my peers and pals.

"Ask peers and your management team if you can join their meetings when you first start a new role even if you are not a part of that project. It will allow you to see how others interact, shows you have initiative in understanding how the team works, and you never know, you may end up helping the project." - Nicole

"Listen more than you speak." - Becky

"Constantly try to continue learning, because technology always changes. You want to stay ahead of the curve instead of playing catch up." - Phu

"Try to look at your projects, problems and possibilities from all angles and perspectives. Your reality today may be different tomorrow." -Abigail

Good luck in your career search!

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