Pssst: Cheat Sheet for Career Growth

What you wish someone had told you before you started your first job!

By Ms. Neha Agrawal, Head of Corporate Strategy and Support Services


Picking your career is one of the most important decisions of your life. And, your actions at the very beginning of your career determine your growth and success in the long term. Having an unblemished vision of what you are getting into and what to expect from your career can help in a successful transition from being a student to a professional. We are not discussing solutions to challenges and problems that you will face at the beginning of a career. And, nor should you look for solutions to challenges that are about to appear, because those are the components that will help you build new skills, give you a perspective and help you to pave the path to success.
So, let us not talk about solutions, let us talk about what to expect at the beginning of your career and how you can best prepare yourself for the challenges ahead.

Challenges or Opportunities?

Yes, there will be challenges ahead. There will be an unknown work environment, unknown people, unknown work systems and ideologies that your new employers would expect you to adapt to very quickly. Sure, there will be processes practiced by your new company to help you transition from a student to a professional; however, in the end, everything will depend on your own attitude. Questions like – “Is this even possible? Why I am getting picked for all the challenging assignments? Why I am not getting consideration in time? I am just a newbie!” would pop up in your mind. And, it is only natural to think this way.

However, what you should clearly understand is- challenges will have many faces, and shying away from challenges or complaining about them will only limit your skill and experience development. Starting a career with a positive attitude and never losing that attitude is the best and the must for every newbie in the professional world. It can turn challenges into opportunities.

Do Not Procrastinate

Beginning your career can be terrifying and exciting at the same time. It is an incredible feeling and if properly managed, it can become the foundation that will strengthen your career. Besides having a positive attitude, cutting ties with procrastination is a must. Trying to find a bit of gap for leisure within a busy work schedule is human nature. But, it will have negative impacts on someone who is just starting his/her career. This is the perfect and most crucial time for learning and proving yourself to your new employers. It is also the time when your experienced colleagues will try to mentor you and consider your pace of learning. Therefore, the best way to show respect and to make the best of their efforts is through being proactive not procrastination.

Pursue Growth, not Perfection

Pursuing perfection will separate you from the rest and lead you to achieve excellence in your professional life. But, bear in mind that dedication and will are not the only things that lead to perfection. You also need the knowledge to find the right path to make things flawless. And since you are just beginning your career, you may not have the required knowledge to support your pursuit for perfection.

Therefore, a smarter thing to do is to focus on learning indeed. It would be the right first step towards a successful you.

Put Faith in Communication

Always try to communicate clearly with your managers, supervisors, and colleagues. Yes, fast learners are always appreciated. But, understand that you would have time to become that in the future, if only you try to build a strong communication bridge now. Communication helps in building trust and it will allow you to understand your managers, colleagues far better than before. Good communication can even help you to present your own ideas and findings to your colleagues, thus speeding up your learning process and growth.

Additionally, it will increase your likability quotient in your new office, giving you an advantage in career.

Criticism is Constructive

At the beginning of your career, your critics are your best friends. And believe me, there will be a lot of those around you. Frankly, it is easy to lose hope in a barrage of criticism and end up thinking “Maybe I am not suitable for this career!” And it is hard to think that ‘I will learn from these criticisms and provide better results’. However, it is a hard way that leads to success. Criticism can make you feel disheartened or angry even. But try to repeat to yourself that “It is a learning experience and I will become better through this!”. And believe it! It will renew your will to move forward and eventually build the professional in you that you idolize.

To conclude this conversation, I would like to say that there is no manuscript for success. We can only learn to prepare ourselves for the challenges and brave through them to become what we had set out to be. Newbies should review themselves according to the new knowledge presented before them every day and never lose hope in their own capability.

A bright new future is waiting for you all, and only you can build the road to reach it!