I still remember my first workday of my first full-time job as it was yesterday. I started my first official job after university at a multinational management consultancy firm in a fast-paced metropolis called Hong Kong more than three years ago. This was not a typical career launch an average MSc graduate would choose. In a completely different culture with other norms and values, it was not easy to build a solid foundation for my career. I have run into many walls. That being said, without the mistakes made I would not be where I am now. I hope the career lessons I have learned can help you too, whether you are starting your first job or furthering your career. Without further ado, let us dive into the five pieces of advice I would give my younger self.
Always be open and transparent
Try to be open and transparent as much as possible. Keep your stakeholders updated about the progress and results of your projects and activities in so far as relevant to them. This could be hard in times you have to bring to light the mistakes and problems that occurred but I can assure you that it will always work out fine. As long as you are honest and transparent about situations, people will show their understanding and look beyond your mistakes. Making mistakes is not a big deal after all. The most important thing is that you are able to come up with solutions to the problems. This is what helps you to further develop yourself as successful professional.
Follow your passion
My management consultant job in Hong Kong could help me to quickly move up the corporate career ladder. However, deep down in my heart I knew that was not exactly where my passion lies. The more I immerse myself with online marketing activities as ways to improve the online visibility of the food blog I was keeping at that time, the more I find confirmation that my passion lies in digital marketing. So I have eventually made a career switch into online marketing. I am happy that I did not neglect any inner signals that were subtly showing what I was exactly passionate about. Try to always keep track of the things that evoke your interest or bring you a feeling of excitement and enthusiasm. Do not ignore these precious signs. Take them serious, instead of suppressing them. Once you have found your passion, do not let it go. Keep nurturing it as it will guide you throughout your career and form the differentiating factor that helps you to stand out from the crowd.
Stay resilient in the face of setbacks and stay in the course
In the dynamic business environment, there are a lot of external factors which are simply beyond your control. Things that do not go according to plan are more the rule than the exemption. So do not be scared that setbacks happen as they are oftentimes unpreventable. Instead always try to teach yourself skills, processes and methods to quickly deal and respond to drawbacks. Do not fixate on what has already happened but rather bounce back from the setback by taking a solution-focused mindset.
Go beyond your assigned tasks
Do not be limited by the tasks that are written on your job description. Look for challenges to go beyond what is assigned to you. Go figure out your boundaries and push them further. Are there new things that you can try out to improve the current processes or to attain better results? This is the question I always start with. Then I begin collecting resources to make this happen, whether it is information on the Internet or concrete advice from colleagues. One of the things I have learned is to not be afraid to ask for help. After all, we each have our own learning paths. We are making progress everyday to be even better in our job and to inspire others along the way as well.
Do not settle for too little
Never forget your own worth and the added value you bring to your stakeholders. Even if you have less experience on specific fields does not make you less capable of doing a specific task. Experience is something you develop quickly enough and it can be supplemented by your other strengths. Always remember that you are gifted with a unique combination of skill set and values showing you that you are enough at all times. Remember that you deserve the world. So never settle for something smaller.
What career advice would you give to your younger self? Let us keep the conversation going.
Until next time!