Career management is infrequently a topic of discussion, and even less frequently taught as a college course. So where do you get career advice? How will you become a prime employee and achieve your career goals if the starting point is muddled?
For all those just stepping out into the career world, this advice can get you on the right path to your ideal career. The direction of your future and your career can depend largely on your ability to do the following:
1. Solve for Growth: Choose your first company wisely, it will stick with you throughout your career. How does the company for which you work address both personal and professional growth? Don't pick a company based on its current reputation, pick a company based on its prospect for growth and advancement - you will be a part of something greater.
2. Always Learn: Forget the "formal mentor." Make learning part of your daily practice. Write down your observations, thoughts, opinions about what happens in the company, and your ideas for change. Later on down the road, you will be thankful that you kept notes of your ideas.
3. Get Closer to Your Weaknesses: Instead of running away from tasks that are far from being your forte, dive into them. If you are detail-oriented but not so good at seeing the big picture, reach out to a fellow project manager, and see how he or she juggles priorities. If you are good at seeing the big picture, but overlook the technical side, challenge yourself and learn a new technical skill.
4. Network with Your Remarkable Work: Network using your remarkable work to back you up. It's difficult to network without substantial evidence of your hard work. Make sure that you can deliver what it takes to get to the top of the ladder - crush the results at your job.
5. You Manage Your Career, Not Your Manager: Take in all the advice, feedback, and express your career goals, often. Your manager supports you, but does not direct your career. Be proactive in taking the reins. Know what you want, and what it will take from you to get there.
Other tips: Always be grateful for help, advice, and support; rebound from offsets in your career; raise your hand for the big projects at work; focus on great results; and use social to your advantage, update your LinkedIn profile every quarter.
For more career advice, reach out to local career centers, guidance counselors, or career professionals.