Maybe you are a recent graduate and entered the workplace just months ago. Or, maybe you have been in your job for five years. Regardless, you should always be thinking of this phrase: How do I take the next step?
Complacency is never a good thing, so you should always be driving yourself to be a success. By settling, we lose the drive and the ambition to take that next step.
I’ve had a number of jobs and switched careers. All those experiences helped me launch my own business. Here are five tips that I believe can help you take your next step.
1. Keep Your Eyes Open- You never know when a great opportunity may come upon you. Never just dismiss it; think about the pros and cons. I always do a personal SWOT analysis at every opportunity.
2. Be Smart- I never would tell someone to jump to another job just for the sake of jumping. Do your research. Look at what you can offer them as much as why they can offer you.
3. Spread Your Wings- As much as you may not want to, considering a job in another city or state could be the perfect move. It offers the challenge of learning a new area and making a name for yourself. Plus, meeting new people always helps to challenge us.
4. Listen to a mentor- A trusted colleague can sometimes be the best sounding board. They can also often give terrific career and life guidance. They’ll also be blunt in their opinions, which you should listen carefully to.
5. Don’t Doubt Yourself- This sounds easy, but it isn’t always the case. You are the one that knows your skills best; believe in yourself and know that even though you may not know it all, you can still be a success.
Do you have some tips that have helped you take the next step? Let me know in the comments.
[Jas' note: I'm thrilled to welcome Niki Ianni, a fellow Temple University alum, to the blog with a great and timely post.]
Six months ago to the day, I put on my new Macy’s clearance rack suit, smoothed my hair, double-checked my briefcase for all the basics and took a deep breath as I walked confidently into the next phase of my life – the start of my post-graduate career.
The all-nighter study sessions, thousands of draft edits and hundreds of internship hours… everything I worked for in the past four years had finally paid off. While getting here had not been an easy feat, full of dozens of applications, gallons of coffee and the occasional mental breakdown…with hard work and determination, I secured my dream job working as a public relations specialist at the largest animal protection organization in the country.
For those who are preparing to start their careers or have already just begun, here are my three biggest pieces of advice for you that these past six months have taught me:
It takes time. You know the old adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day?” Well, there’s actually a lot of truth to it. I’m not sure why I thought I could leave my first day of work knowing everything and being able to do everything – but I did. When it came time to submit my first press release to my director for review, my stomach was in knots.
I remember apologizing in the email… something along the lines of, “Here is the release for your review. I’m sorry it’s not perfect!” I’ll never forget her response: “Niki, I don’t expect it to be perfect… nothing ever is. You’re still learning.” Sometimes you just need to remember that all of your colleagues who have been there for years started off exactly where you are and eventually they grew, too… with time.
You’re going to make mistakes. Probably more than you’d like to admit. But that doesn’t make you a failure – it makes you human and it teaches you lessons you might had otherwise never learned. I’m a firm believer that it’s not the mistakes themselves, but how you handle them that really defines your character. You can cry and hope the mistake goes away, or you can take responsibility and fix it. I’ve sent out releases with a typo, or hit send too soon. I mean, in my first month I accidentally called a reporter in Seattle at 6 a.m. (I forgot about these things called time zones) and woke her up. Not my shining moment.
While I was horrified and for a few brief moments thought, “Okay…surely this is the one to ‘end’ my career,” I instead found ways to resolve each problem and instilled practices that would prevent them from ever happening again. Because that’s the thing about mistakes – it’s okay to make them occasionally, so long as you never make the same one twice.
You have a voice – don’t be afraid to use it. I’m fortunate to work with a team of highly accomplished and talented professionals who have been honing their craft for many years. So naturally it was a bit intimidating to call these people my colleagues because in comparison to their experience, I felt way out of my league. Remember you were hired for a reason. Yes, your co-workers may have been in the industry for a decade and have a great deal they can teach you, however don’t discount the skills and knowledge that you can bring to the table as well.
Sometimes it’s your lack of experience that can be your greatest asset as you’re able to bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas that may have never been considered before. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas and opinions – it will only make your team that much stronger.
At the end of the day, the most important thing you can remember is to believe in yourself. Believe in your talents, your knowledge and your skills – because this opportunity didn’t just come to you; you created it. Never lose sight of that.
Niki Ianni is a recent Temple University graduate where she majored in strategic communication with a concentration in public relations. At Temple, Niki served as the former director of PRowl Public Relations, Temple’s first student-run PR firm and was an executive board member for Temple PRSSA. She now resides in the Washington, D.C. area where she works as the public relations specialist for The Humane Society of the United States.
Whether you are a new pro or seasoned veteran in public relations and marketing, you know teamwork is one of the most important parts of a campaign. Today’s Monday Minute discusses this further.
What are your teamwork secrets. Let me know in the comments.