We’re almost three weeks into 2016 now, and many of us are already looking back at those resolutions we swore we’d actually do this year… and saying, “Well, there’s always next year.”
Well, we at YouTern are calling BS on that one. After all, there’s still 49 weeks left in 2016 to do amazing things, right?
To help us get past our failed resolutions and propel our careers forward,, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
What is the best beginning of the year career advice you have for young professionals?
We hope you enjoy, and put to good use, their thoughtful advice!
1.Pivot as Fast as You Can
The beginning of the year offers you a clean slate to make changes to things that didn’t work the previous year. If you’ve just started a new job, this is a chance to learn from your previous mistakes. It might seem like your age is still being used as an excuse when it comes to certain responsibilities, so align yourself with a mentor ASAP, and make yourself indispensable to the company.
2. Get Yourself Out There
You have a unique advantage in that you have the time, energy and enthusiasm to get in front of as many people as possible — whether that’s through internships, networking events, alumni gatherings or industry conferences/events. Shaking hands, remembering names and delivering 110 percent when tasked with a job or project is what has worked for generations, and it still holds true now.
3. Volunteer for Every Opportunity
Once you’ve secured the interview and landed the job, you’ll be quickly immersed in the culture of your new company. Look out for opportunities to participate in capacities above and beyond your job description. Special project teams, working groups and product testing sessions are all great examples. Figure out how to stand out, make sure you’re up for the task, then seize the opportunity.
4. Build Skills, Not a Resume
Too often, young professionals focus on making career decisions based on how their resume will look. Rather than pursuing opportunities solely based on the “brand name” you’d be working for, or the compensation package, consider what skills you’ll acquire within the position. Companies and cash come and go, but skills stick with you for your whole career.
5. Venture Outside Your Comfort Zone
The start of the year is the perfect time to expand your reach. The first stage of your career is meant to try new things and learn as much about yourself as possible. Venturing outside your comfort zone will teach you about your strengths, and how to work on your weaknesses. The most successful people are constantly striving to improve, and learning to “become comfortable being uncomfortable.”
– Charles Bogoian, Kenai Sports, LLC
6. Set Flexible Goals
It’s great to have New Year’s resolutions and exciting goals for the coming year, but be sure to make them flexible. The world is changing very rapidly, and you need to be able to change your strategy quickly if necessary. Make sure you keep up with the latest trends in your industry, such as new technologies. This will help you take advantage of the year’s best opportunities.
7. Quit Your Job if You Don’t Love It
Make sure that you love what you do. You can’t excel in your job and get ahead if you’re not passionate about it. Think about what interests and drives you, and let that lead your decision on how to choose your job. Don’t make the mistake of staying at a workplace that you hate because it’s “comfortable.” If you don’t wake up most mornings with a smile on your face, then you’re doing something wrong.
8. Dress for Your Next Promotion
Sure you need to work hard, but if you aren’t dressed for your future role, then you won’t get called into that high-level meeting by chance that allows you to 1) internally network and get visibility with bigger decision makers, and 2) gain access to higher order information and details to make you more effective. You can’t be overdressed, but you can always be underdressed. Don’t leave it to chance.
About the Author: Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.