Over the last 28 weeks, I did one blog post per day explaining the career advice in each of the 141 tweets in my career success book Success Tweets. During that time, I received several offers from people who wanted to do guest posts on this blog.
Today, I’d like to feature a guest post on succeeding after college by Tim Handorf. I think Tim provides some great career advice for young professionals.
Succeeding after College
Success isn’t the loaded term recent college graduates think it is. All it really means is achieving the goals that you set out to achieve. Recent college grads should bear in mind, though, that another part of success is finding fulfillment in both the process of achieving those goals and the achievement itself.
Chasing Something Undefined Is Chasing Your Tail
Think about it. College graduates often feel pressure to “get a good job and make good money” from their parents and significant others. This is a very tall, yet vague, order. What is a “good job?” How much money is “good money?” Additional pressure comes from looming college loan repayments and yes, from themselves. After all, they have just completed an area of undergraduate study in which they look at the lives of those who became successful in their field, and they often heap on themselves the pressure to do likewise. You can’t be successful, though, if you haven’t yet defined what success means for you. Success certainly can’t be defined by the people around you, or you risk losing the vital fulfillment side of success.
As you set out in the career world, remember that there is joy both in the journey to success and in its achievement. Don’t allow the drive to succeed to become a source of anxiety. Also remember that every effective journey requires a map. Success doesn’t just happen, even to the hard-working it actually takes careful planning. You’ll find that having a plan for your next steps will serve as the map you need, guiding you to a precise and well-defined destination.
Defining Success for You and Mapping Out a Way to Get There
The journey toward career success when you are just entering the job market starts once you have defined what success looks like for you. Describe for yourself in detail your ideal job, and don’t be discouraged by the fact that you may currently be unqualified for such a job. Now find job listings that line up with your ideal job and look at the qualifications required. You may even want to make some phone calls and ask for more detailed information on the knowledge, skills and experience necessary for your ideal job. Using the most common requirements, begin single-mindedly pursuing career positions that will equip you with the knowledge, skills and experience for that ideal job.
For many, landing a position in management in their field of choice marks the first step to success. But rarely does a recent graduate with no proven leadership experience become a manager right after school. No, they often start out as interns, floor associates, junior accountants, and assistants. With management being the success destination, begin mapping out what it will take to get there. You will first need to learn and absorb as much as possible about the company and how it works.
Focus on performing your job responsibilities and assignments with excellence, learn from your mistakes and cultivate strong relationships with your co-workers and supervisors. Separate yourself from workplace drama and gossip and ask your supervisors how they got to their current positions. Make it clear in every performance review that your intention is to enter a management position in the company. It is vital that you vocalize the things you want. Don’t be afraid to ask for new challenges and to inquire about available advancements. Even an unpaid promotion could equip you for the next level.
Defining a Bigger Vision
Someone once told me, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” Recalling this quote now leads me to emphasize how important it is to always set new goals once you have reached a certain success destination. The Big Vision for Success for one person may mean impacting thousands of people for the better by founding a viable nonprofit organization. The Big Vision for another person means being named CEO of the Fortune 500 company where he or she currently works as a mid-level manager. As you set bigger and bigger goals for yourself and reach them, you will learn to re-define success for yourself and expand your vision.
The common sense career success coach point here is simple. As you set out to create the life and career success you deserve, remember that there is joy both in the journey to career success and in its achievement. Don’t allow your drive to succeed to become a source of anxiety. Also remember that every effective journey requires a map. Career success doesn’t just happen, even to the hard-working it actually takes careful planning. You’ll find that having a plan for your next steps will serve as the map you need, guiding you to a precise and well-defined destination.
That’s what Time Handorf has to say about succeeding as a young professional. I agree. How about you? What are your thoughts? Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing them with us. As always, thanks for reading.
Bud (and Tim)