When you’re just beginning a new career, everything is part of the learning process.
You’re enthusiastic but untested, and you probably got hired more because of your educational background and your charisma than for your experience. But there are ways you can quickly gain knowledge and make yourself a more valuable employee, and in a terrific Black Enterprise post titled “3 Ways to Escalate Career Development for Rookies,” career expert and WordSmithRapport founder Karima Mariama-Arthur outlines a trio of helpful tidbits.
First up: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” Mariama-Arthur offers this tip with one caveat, though: Don’t ask your new bosses a question until you’ve searched long and hard for the answer yourself. While it’s perfectly reasonable — and also beneficial — to seek clarity when you’re not sure what you’re doing, you’ll learn more and bolster your reputation as a go-getter if you’re able to “navigate unfamiliar territory” effectively.
Mariama-Arthur’s second tip is one you hear over and over, and for good reason: “Get a mentor.” It’s all about taking advantage of “institutional memory” and learning from someone who’s worked in the field — and at the company — for many years. Sometimes, these individuals will seek you out, but Mariama-Arthur links to a U.S. News & World Report article containing 13 tips for selecting a mentor, just in case you’re not so lucky.
“The benefits of having someone to help you learn the ropes in a more focused way could mean the difference in your growth and happiness with this employer, not to mention impact the way you feel about remaining in your current career for the long-haul,” Mariama-Arthur writes.
Lastly, she advises ambitious upstarts to “Ask about employer-sponsored opportunities for professional development.” Quite a few companies offer classes and trainings and other such opportunities, and while some of these things take place during off-work hours and require the employer to cough up some cash, many will consider footing the bill.
“You just have to be proactive and articulate an earnest value proposition,” Mariama-Arthur writes.