The Best Career Advice for Those Just Starting Out

One of the most exciting times of life is when you’re just starting out on a new career path. There’s a sense of possibility and hope, along with some significant financial and personal challenges.

At Addition Financial, our members often come to us when they’re starting a new career or switching careers. They want career advice to help them make the transition and avoid pitfalls along the way.

With that in mind, here’s the best career advice we have to offer.

Seek Your Passion

When you’re just starting out, you may not get your dream job on your first try – but that doesn’t mean you should give up! Having a passion in life is a wonderful thing. If you’re lucky enough to know what your passion is early on, look at it as an opportunity to seek out ways to pursue it.

Even if you have a steady job, you can be working toward a job that speaks to your passion. That might mean building skills that will help you qualify for your dream job. It might also mean finding opportunities to bring some of that passion to the job you already have.

Own Your Mistakes

Nobody likes messing up. It’s not a good feeling. But every mistake you make can be a learning experience if you approach it with the right mindset.

Mistakes are part of life. When you make a mistake, the best thing you can do career-wise is to own up to it. Trying to cover it up or blame someone else is sure to backfire. And, employers appreciate employees who don’t make excuses.

Once you’ve done that, figure out what you can learn from the mistake. Can you develop a better way of doing a routine task? Improve the written protocol to minimize the chance of that mistake happening again? Learn a new skill? Embrace the mistake and do what you can to grow as a person. It’ll pay off in the future.

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Learn How to Take Constructive Criticism

New employees may be subject to an onslaught of feedback and criticism for their performance. If you’re not prepared for it, it’s easy to feel defensive. However, learning to accept constructive criticism is an essential career skill no matter what you’re doing.

On a related note, you’ve got to understand the difference between constructive criticism and someone who’s just being a jerk. Constructive criticism comes from someone who wants to help you improve your job performance. If someone’s being unkind or demeaning, you have a right to speak up for yourself.

The best method for accepting constructive criticism is to simply take it on board. You don’t need to respond in the moment. It’s fine to ask for some time and then come back and ask questions if you need to. It’s a great way to learn and grow in your career.

Treat Everyone with Respect

Sometimes, it can be tough to treat people with respect. And it’s a popular idea that respect must be earned. That’s true – to a point. But when you’re just starting out, you’ll likely do better if you treat others with respect even when you feel they don’t deserve it.

That doesn’t mean you’ve got to put up with abusive treatment or stand by if someone’s impacting your job performance. It does mean that you should default to respectful treatment even if you’ve got a complaint. When you treat others with respect, they’re more likely to do the same to you.

Treating people with respect will also help you build connections. Networking can help you move up within a company or keep track of new job opportunities in the future.

Master the Art of Time Management

You may already have great time management skills from your time in school -- but a lot of people don’t. If you have difficulty focusing on a task or delivering work by a deadline, you’re likely to run into trouble no matter which career path you choose.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time at work:

  1. Keep track of all tasks on your calendar.
  2. Start each day by tackling the most difficult or important task on your agenda.
  3. If you have the authority to do so, delegate work appropriately.
  4. Don’t multitask – there’s research to show that multitaskers make more mistakes than people who focus on one thing at a time.
  5. Get up to stretch or get some water or coffee every half hour or so. Don’t take more than a minute, but a little break will help you clear your head.

Effective time management is an essential skill in every industry and job. Developing good work habits now will serve you well in the future.

Starting out in a new career is exciting. The career advice we’ve provided here is designed to help you make the most of your job now – and build the career you want in the future.

Need help with the financial aspects of your new career? Click here to learn more about Addition Financial’s checking accounts.