1. Pick a Career You Care About, Not a Major
And not in the sense that, “Oh, pick a major that you like and the job will come.” Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. I was an English major and I chose the major because I knew I wanted to be a journalist or book publisher. I was 100% sure I wanted to be able to write, edit, proofread, etc. I held internships in college but nothing of extreme substantial lasting value. Choose a major of a career path that you love, not necessarily a major I love. (For example: Had I had the experience, I probably would have been a Business major, but during college, I thought, ‘I never want to do business.'”) The more you know!
2. When You Like Something, Give it Your 100%
Ok, so no one necessarily “loves” a job, but you sure can like a job a lot. Having a job where you feel part of the team and you feel like what you do actually matters/benefits the company, you’ll really start to love the job. A job shouldn’t be just an everyday, 9-5, 5 days a week hassle where you have to literally drag yourself out of bed in the morning. (I’ve been there.) A job is something that you, no matter how much you don’t necessarily love your tasks, can really really thrive at doing.
3. Read, read, read
I started working in content marketing/outreach for an SEO agency, and this is something I didn’t have much, if any, experience in previously. Instead of hoping for the best, I read blogs, articles, books, etc. to learn the industry and also find ways to excel within the industry. (My boyfriend makes fun of me because my Kindle is all SEO/Marketing books.)
Your career isn’t school — no one’s going to give you a bad grade if you don’t hand something in or do a poor job at it. BUT, your career is not only your source of income but should also be your livelihood. If you don’t want to excel at your job, why should your boss want to keep you onboard? And if you’re working just to pay your bills, think again.
4. It’s Not All Money
Money is nice, yes it definitely is. But money isn’t the only reason why you’re working a job. Yes, we all have student loans, rent/utilities to pay for, gas, car insurance, car payments, not to mention, you know, food and Netflix subscriptions. Plus, you want to have a savings account in case of emergency. That’s why, when it comes to working one of your first jobs, it is crucial to save. I’ve been pretty much dedicating most of my paychecks to paying off my student loans/trying to finish paying off my credit card plus my everyday expenses. I don’t splurge on anything anymore, and I don’t really have a desire to anymore. You definitely learn the value of a dollar when you’re only making so many hourly.
6. Work Hard But Don’t Over-Extend Yourself
You have new responsibilities at work, that’s awesome! But if the responsibilities become overwhelming, do not be afraid to say something. If you aren’t going to be able to produce the results you want to produce given your excess amount of work, no one is going to be satisfied in the end. Speak up, and don’t be timid.
7. Study The Industry
I took an intro to marketing class in college, but boy, did that fail to show me what digital marketing is like. In school, you’re given the textbook definitions, maybe some real-life examples, and endless amounts of powerpoints and online tests. (Ok, I took an online class is why…)
Chances are, your industry is constantly changing. If you don’t keep up with it, no one’s going to tell you. Your new teacher? Yourself. And your laptop, industry experts, etc. If you’re not keeping up with the latest trends, chances are, you’re not going to succeed at your work!
8. Your Boss Knows More Than You, So Don’t Complain
Stop being sassy about getting feedback on your work; to be honest, it’s for the best, even if you don’t want to admit it. As a writer/editor, sometimes I find it hard to take critiques, but I realize that it’s only helping me grow and better myself as a writer.
Failure is IMPORTANT to success. That’s right — failure helps you succeed. Your boss once failed, and your boss probably still fails. Don’t assume you’re being judged and manipulated left and right when you’re starting off at a job or even are a few years deep. Every day is a learning experience and take it as a gift!
9. Make the Best Decision For Yourself
If you seek opportunity elsewhere and you think it’ll be a better opportunity, you should take the leap.