Reader Question – How to Jump Start Career

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This month’s Reader’s question is a basic one and very similar to other questions we’ve received.

“I am 18 years old and admitted into college recently, I am looking forward to my real career in the next 3 to 4 years but in the meantime I don’t know where I should work/start?”

Education is very important and usually a pathway to a high level of success. However, education doesn’t only come from traditional school systems. Life’s experience all around us make us more valuable to ourselves and others. The more you work, the more you learn and therefore the more experience you accumulate. This experience is translated into talent (your resume) and talent is sold to the organization you are applying to for a fee (your salary).

It goes without saying that the more experience you have, the more you get paid! The other important aspect to remember when getting started is that without the ability to sell yourself, your worth is automatically diminished. No matter where your goals lead you, there are certain elements /characteristics you must familiarize yourself with in order to be a more productive/attractive member of any organization.

  • Selling yourself
  • Selling techniques (phone, face to face and proposal based)
  • Servicing skill sets (customer servicing)
  • Speech delivery
  • Understanding the monetary systems
  • Analytical team work skills

Those core competencies can be used, and abused no matter where you work and what you do. When applying for jobs make sure they are going to teach you these skills since they will be the key to your foundation. As discussed previously here, your foundation needs to be strong enough to support your growth and the growth of those around you.

Some ideal roles to start with from a young age or to be exposed to I should say:

Banking: Learning to handle money, aggressive selling and necessity to work as a team.

Sales office: Learning marketing and lead generation.

Retail sales: Customer service and real world lessons.

Government: Necessity to work with others and present proposals to executives.

Niche Services: Learning and perfecting a skill set you’re passionate about.

It is important to hold a job that pays well but more important to hold a job that provides a unique experience that you can learn from and offer great advancement opportunity. It is also important to not get caught up in the money but rather the goals we set for ourselves and how these jobs are only a stepping stone to the real challenge that awaits.

Some jobs that you should stay away from:

Fast food: Poor advancement options, low pay and no growth.

Car sales: Car sales is a danger as you can make good money doing it, but find yourself working crazy hours, and the taste of money is hard to get out of your mouth.

Personal assistant: Can be anything from valet, caddy, or corporate. Takes no real skill.

No matter what you select as your first job and its relevance to the final outcome you wish for, please do not waste time and procrastinate. The lessons and experiences you can gain from other related fields are as important as your final role. They will help you be more seasoned in your role and give you a level of confidence in your newest role. The idea is that no matter where you work, nothing should keep you from pushing ahead and getting promoted while you are in your position. The more you make for working the same hours, the better off you are and the more experience you gain. No matter where you start, consider it a stepping stone and work as hard as you can to move up, do not look at it as a job but rather an opportunity to learn and move ahead as if it was your career.

Hope this helped and good luck….