31 May How Your Entry-Level Job Can Help You Get to the Corner Office
Whether you are new to the work force or just new to your current company, if you are starting at the bottom, you’re not alone. It’s not unusual to start a job with very little experience, and therefore find yourself the junior person in the room. But you can maximize your entry-level job to build your future. You might not go right from taking coffee orders to taking meetings, but you can find opportunities everywhere, if you know how.
How to use make the most of your entry-level job:
Volunteer. No, not helping out at the soup kitchen on the weekend. Volunteer at work – you might be considered too junior to take on a lot of responsibilities officially, but if you offer to do something in addition to your official tasks, you can pick up experience under the radar.
This could mean offering to take notes at a meeting, where even though you can’t participate, you can begin to learn everything from technical knowledge, to how to build relationships.
Early arrival. Get to work early. A lot of the most productive and well-respected leaders consistently talk about the advantages of getting to work early. You should too. For one, those who are there early will notice – they know that you’re still early in your career and probably don’t need to be there.
But the ambition and enthusiasm will get you noticed. You also are likely to get a couple of minutes with someone you normally wouldn’t. You’re more likely to be grabbing a cup of coffee with the VP if she’s there before her assistant and caffeinating herself. And if the office hasn’t hit it’s stride of mid-morning chaos, you might find people are willing to spend a few minutes talking to you.
Side steps. On the other hand, if your entry-level job isn’t just really low on the totem pole, but also low on your interests, you should consider using evenings and weekends to pursue your real professional interests.
There is nothing wrong with getting experience (and a paycheck) doing something that isn’t your passion when you are getting started. But don’t just put your true interests on ice – network, blog, take courses, whatever you need to get engaged elsewhere. Job opportunities are often just about being in the right place at the right time.
Make the most of your entry-level job, by exiting with class.
It’s a great feeling to finally leave that entry-level job behind. There’s nothing wrong with being excited to be ascending the career ladder. But remember that someone gave you an opportunity when you didn’t have experience. If nothing else, they helped you pay the bills. So be sure not to burn bridges by being dismissive or ungrateful. When you get to the corner office, you might need them to return your calls.