5 Tips When Starting a New Career

When starting any career most people want to be the best they can be. But it is hard when you start. It feels like there is so much to learn, it’s like trying to drink from a firehose. I remember how it felt when I first started out and here are some lessons I learned along the way.

Seek out Mentors

Of all the things on this list, I feel that this above any other has helped me grow in my field. In the traditional sense, find someone in your organization who has been around the field for a long time or has expertise in an area you are interested in. Many corporations have formal programs to help people connect. Make sure you take advantage of them if you have them. If your corporation has no formal program don’t be afraid to talk to people who you would like to have mentor you. More often than not, people are willing to help others out. They are always there to bounce ideas off and help you avoid pitfalls along the path.

Leverage Social Media

Now more than ever it is easier to connect with leaders in your chosen field. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin you can follow and receive updates on thoughts and trends in the industry from those helping to shape it. This allows you to see how they navigate the field and most usually provide tips and advice to their followers in a mentoring way.

Join Professional Organizations

All professions have several organizations and some even have certifications available. They also provide resources for their members like newsletters, survey information and online sessions from peers. They are a great resource and one you should utilize. Make sure that you are active in the organization. Ask question help out and make connections.

Speak up

Just because you are new to the field doesn’t mean you have nothing to contribute. You bring fresh eyes and a new perspective. Also, don’t be afraid to volunteer for projects and stretch yourself, it’s how we grow. Another way to look at this is to let your supervisor know what your career goals are. I enjoy helping members of my team acquire new skills and in many cases helping them to move on to bigger and better things.

Staying Motivated

We all have been where you are now. The key is to follow your dreams and stick to it. Any field is full of wonderful people who will share with you their experience and knowledge. When you feel down take some time to leverage the above mentioned resources and soon you’ll be moving ahead.

I hope these five tips help you as you start out. In the comments below feel free to add any advice you would have for anyone starting out.

Steve leads the Learning & Professional Development team, with over a decade of Instructional Design and professional development experience in higher education at Northern Arizona University.

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