I was 21, just graduated with my undergrad degree from University of North Florida (SWOOOP) and I thought I was going to rule the world. I had a public relations degree and had zero clue how I was going to use it or what I wanted to be when I “grew” up. Three weeks before graduation I went on my first big girl real world job interview and absolutely fell in love.
I had zero clue what staffing was, or what staffing firms actually did. But I loved it, and I knew it was where I wanted to be. So fast forward 9 years and I am still here and I still love it. Most people don’t understand it, but that’s okay. I don’t have a typical 9-5 work week, it’s the most stressful job ever and it’s a commission based role. But I love it, and I am pretty good at it if I do say so myself.
Sometimes I lay in bed at night wide awake thinking about all of the interviews I have coming in the next day or trying to remember if I sent one of them a email confirmation or not – you know, normal things. Right? Pssshhh.
So, during one of those sleepless nights thinking about staffing (I know, I know – I can feel the stares and eye rolls from here. But don’t judge) I thought about all of the life lessons I have learned and how I really did learn them all through trial and error and time, no one told me anything or handed me anything on a silver platter. So, I thought I would share.
20 Career Tips No One Will Actually Tell You
- Your college major is just a college major and nothing more. Proven talent in other fields will speak for itself.
- Always be kind to the receptionist, especially at an interview. This goes for anyone, no matter how far up the food chain they are. You never know who they know.
- The weaknesses that you’re unaware of will hurt you the most. Use any roadblocks in your career to determine your hidden weaknesses. This might be hard, and involve asking people who didn’t hire you exactly why they didn’t—but it will help you in the long run.
- The number one quality for getting hired is likability. People want to hire other people that they want to spend time with. Jerks getting promoted are the exception, not the rule.
- Learn how to properly use questions. You can learn, get answers, give answers, mentor people and develop your reputation just by using questions. Learn to use questions in a non-threatening way and you will open up many doors.
- Don’t just look up for opportunities, look laterally. People with diverse experience usually progress faster than people with more experience.
- Don’t be better, be different. You might not have the exact experience listed on the job description, but if you can show how your unique skills would better suit the company, you have a better shot than someone who is a more technical match.
- The best job for you won’t be ready at the exact time you are “ready.” You have to be open to and searching for opportunity all the time.
- Jobs are a marathon, not a sprint. People who always work 80-hour weeks will have to compensate somehow and they’ll be slowed down in the long run.
- Don’t complain about Mondays. It’s like wearing a huge sign that says: “I hate my job and do not want to be here.” It’s fine to be looking forward to down time, but work time shouldn’t feel that bad. If you hate your career that much, you don’t have the right career.
- Sometimes it’s better to share credit for something even if you did most of the work. You’ll be building allies and creating a team.
- Talk openly about your failures. People will respect and trust you if they see that you’re taking risks and aren’t ashamed to learn from them.
- Give (deserved) praise to your coworkers. It makes you both look good. Even (or especially) if they did something better than you.
- Assume that everything you do will have an effect on your raise and promotion opportunities.
- As an employee, you are essentially a small business of one. Your employer is the customer, and you must focus on how to increase your skills to be more desirable.
- Do everything you can to make your boss look good. They will remember this when it is time for a promotion or a raise.
- Never, ever cook fish in the office microwave.
- You don’t get ahead by doing your job well—you get ahead by making new things happen that weren’t a part of your job description.
- Make sure people know when your work is successful. Sometimes higher ups only see things that work, not who made them work. Make sure to get credit where it’s due.
- The qualities that got you your first promotion won’t always be the ones to get your next one. At higher levels, employees are judged on their ability to deliver future value to the company in ways that are not taught or explained to them: most importantly, how much business are they are able to bring in.
What is your favorite piece of career advice you have gotten in your career?
Love & Sparkle,