One of the first things every new professionals should know is that looking for your first job after college is stressful, there’s no way to sugarcoat this. Plus the fact that the pandemic has created a new normal for everyone. But this doesn’t mean that job hunting has to be a chore. Trust us, with the right knowledge and guidance, this is going to be one of the best experiences of your life and a great self reflection towards your own professional journey. Here are 10 things every new professionals should know when starting their career.
- Discover Your Career Interests
- Map Out Your Long Term Goals
- Master Your Soft Skills
- Evaluate Your Non-Negotiable Priorities
- Build Your Brand Online
- Network, Network, Network!
- Take Advantage Of Workshops and Trainings
- Seek Out Mentors
- Be Prepared for Anything & Everything
- Value Work & Life Balance
Discover Your Career Interests
The very first thing that new professionals should know is to do your research. This will help you to set realistic expectations about your ideal job or industry. More than where your degree will take you, research where your interests and skill sets will be a good fit. For example, taking on a marketing job will require more than just creativity and design skills. Knowing how to analyze and handle data will be a huge part of your day to day. Study things like this and ask yourself if this is where you see yourself growing as a professional.
When researching on the jobs you want to apply for, check out requirements for your target career by looking at similar jobs or reading recruitment posts. Knowing the preferred requirements before applying will allow you to immediately see if your skills and degree will align with the job.
Bonus tip: If you think you’re lacking experience to apply to the job you want, having a firmer understanding of the job you are looking for will give you the opportunity to check out webinars or training to give yourself an edge before applying to the jobs you want.
Map Out Your Long-Term Goals
When researching on your ideal career, list down the kinds of jobs or industries you're interested in. This will help you have an idea on the career path that you should be targeting. New Professionals should know not to limit themselves to your degree. While your degree will certainly help you land a job related to it, don’t let this limit you in the careers that you explore or consider. A lot of entry-level positions only require a bachelor's degree. Promotions and career movement will, more often than not, come from your gained experience. Always remember that experience is key, don’t limit yourself from getting your dream job!
If you're still unsure of your long-term career goal though, don’t fret. Explore your options, diversify your skills, and specialize when you’re ready.
Master Your Soft Skills
Employers place value on your soft skills - especially as a fresh graduate. Other than technical skills or experience, one of the most important things that recruiters and employers look for are soft skills like a positive attitude, willingness to learn, how effective you are as a team player, and your communication skills. These are the things that help them determine how good a fit you will be in their company’s culture.
Showing a positive attitude and willingness to learn is always attractive to recruiters and interviewers. An applicant who demonstrates that they are centered and able to focus on action points and tasks at hand is someone who will be of great value to any company. Develop your positivity by choosing to rise above minor problems and thinking of solutions instead of dwelling on the setbacks. Show that you are willing to learn by being open to new experiences and always be willing to take on new challenges.
Communication is king and understanding is everything. Your written and verbal skills are important factors in building any type of relationship - even in the workplace. Practice expressing your thoughts clearly and strengthen your communication skills.
Teamwork makes the dream work! As corny as this may sound, being able to work well with others to reach a common goal is a huge factor for any company. When hiring new employees, employers will always look for one that will blend in well with their company culture and will be a great addition in helping their group or department succeed. Develop teamwork and be willing to lend a hand to friends or colleagues that need a little help.
Evaluate Your Non-Negotiable Priorities
One of the most important things that you have to consider before applying to any job is your non-negotiables. To do this, understand your values and priorities. Knowing what’s important to you in life and at work will be your advantage. This will be a great guide in your career journey - especially when considering what jobs you want. As a new professional, it’s best to ask yourself what you want to do and why you want to do it.
Staying true to your values and priorities will make work life A LOT easier. Making choices that are in line with who you are and that you are passionate about will make decisions about your career and your future easier.
Build Your Brand Online
In today’s world, a good online presence is an advantage. The first step to building your online brand is to ensure that your social profiles exude professionalism. No, you don’t need to delete your favorite memes from your Facebook or remove that funny selfie on Instagram. But you will have to start keeping these things private. You can start building your online brand by making sure that you maintain a professional public profile. Make use of LinkedIn and build your network.
Network, Network, Network!
Start building your network early! If you’re still a student, don’t wait for graduation to build connections. Get a head start by joining organizations, webinars, training, or even online groups! A wide network will prove helpful when you start looking for a job. Diversify your network. Who knows, your next LinkedIn connection may just be your foot in the door towards your dream job!
Take Advantage Of Workshops and Trainings
If you’re still in school, take advantage of free workshops and trainings offered by your college or department. This applies to new employees too! Surely you’ve been a part of your company's on-boarding sessions but available trainings won’t stop there. Don’t be afraid to ask your HR representatives if there are available in-house trainings specific for your job position within the company or workshops that will help develop your soft skills. Take advantage of these opportunities to further your knowledge and to keep growing as a professional.
Seek Out Mentors
One of the best career moves you can make, that may also help your career growth, is to find a mentor who can guide you through your career. Get a feel on the company’s leadership culture as early as your interview and, more importantly, ask yourself if their management style works for you. Does it seem like your manager is willing to teach you the ropes? Is there someone in your team, maybe a senior member, that can assist you as you familiarize yourself with your role? Does the company implement a performance management system?
Don’t limit your career mentor to a current colleague however. Do some research, connect to professionals with the same job description on LinkedIn, and find experts or thought leaders in your chosen field. Knowing them personally is an advantage but not necessary. Professionals like this usually share their knowledge and journey on different platforms like social media.
Whether you have your supervisor, a professor from college, or a LinkedIn connection as a Career Mentor, having someone to guide you and share their best practices and career journey with you is an invaluable asset to any professional.
Be Prepared For Anything & Everything
Before starting each day, especially as a new professional, do your research and make sure that you are prepared to take on new challenges every day. An informed and prepared employee is always impressive. Another thing you should try as a new professional is saying yes to tasks. Be willing to learn, be inquisitive, and stay passionate.
One more thing that you have to be prepared for everyday is failure. No matter how well researched or passionate you are, be ready to fail and learn to love it. Do not overwhelm or overexert yourself to be perfect, hit targets, or deliver tasks perfectly the first time around. As a professional, you will fail hard and fail often but these are the moments where you will learn from and grow from the most.
Value Work and Life Balance
As a new professional, you may be considering signing with big named companies or the ones that offer the highest salary. The best tip that we can give you is to take the job and be with a company that values you as an employee and as an individual. Remember, you can always chase promotions and salary increases by improving and proving your worth as an employee. Don’t let yourself be trapped in a company that views you as an expendable resource because, no matter what you do, your worth will not increase with these companies.
Another thing you would want to consider, work and life balance is a greater priority now because of the pandemic. Know your worth and find a company that sees this too. With the new normal, surely you wouldn’t want a company or employer that would jeopardize your health and safety. Find a company that offers wellness programs and regularly checks on their employees’ physical and mental well-being.
Take Sprout Solutions for example, we value our employees’ wellness as a company asset and honor work and life balance just as much as productivity and career growth. If you want to know more about our culture and how we achieve work and life integration, you can check out our Company Culture here or visit our social media pages @SproutHRTech.
Think you’d be a great fit? Be a Sprout Rockstar - visit our careers page here.