Professional Development

Surviving (and thriving in) your early career years

Everyone around you seems to have it all together. They’re confident in what they know and what they don’t know. They’re experts in their field. And above all else, they have the ability to speak flawlessly in front of large groups of people. How? 

Early on in your career, it’s easy to fall victim to imposter syndrome – wrapping yourself up in feelings of self-doubt when it comes to your abilities despite your experience, education, and accomplishments. 

You’re navigating a whole new world and chapter in your life. It can all seem intimidating at first, but like anything, adjustment takes time. Luckily, we have a handful of tips and reminders to help guide you to success. 

Five ways to succeed in your early career 

Here are just five ways you can crush imposter syndrome and thrive in your early career. 

1. Be curious

You can’t grow your career without curiosity. When you’re curious, you’re open to exploring new ideas and experiences, meeting new people, and learning new things. 

No one expects you to know everything, especially early on, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Faking it ‘til you make it is one thing, but acting like you hold all the knowledge is not the way to go. 

While you may be worried asking questions makes you look less intelligible, leaders have a high level of respect for those who show interest – asking your mentors, managers, and experts questions exposes your desire to learn and grow. 

2. (Don’t be afraid to) make mistakes 

Mistakes are inevitable, and they have the potential to be very positive moments depending on how you choose to react to them. 

When things don’t go according to plan, we can respond in one of two ways – apologize and sulk in the embarrassment we may feel, or use it as an opportunity to grow and learn something new about ourselves, another person, or a situation. 

Making mistakes at work can feel scary, but it’s expected. It’s about reacting positively with the intention to learn and improve that takes us upward and onward. 

3. Invest in yourself

At the end of the day, you’re responsible for your own success. That’s why it’s so important to seek out opportunities and experiences that give you the competitive edge you need to be considered for roles among your industry’s top talent. 

Learning new skills through LinkedIn Learning, seeking out continued education at universities and colleges, building your online brand, and even just connecting with leaders in your field are all great ways to take you to the next level. 

4. Cold world? No, cold email 

Cold emailing, cold messaging on platforms like LinkedIn, or simply walking into a storefront to hand out a copy of your resume, when done effectively, can be a great way to connect with thought leaders and companies you’re interested in doing work for or learning from. 

Asking someone to chat about their career can be validating, and putting yourself out there without any prior connection is bold in the best way. You’ll be surprised who is more than happy to offer you their time. 

Remember, the worst that could happen is you don’t hear back or they say “no” – go for it. 

5. Talk to people

We all started from somewhere, and it’s important to remember the leaders you look up to did too. 

Seeking out mentors, especially early on in your career, has the potential to be pivotal to your success and growth. Book calls and meetings with your teachers, professors, managers, and other people you look up to in your circle and beyond. Ask questions, listen more than you talk, and seek the advice you need to push you to get to where you want to be. 

Reminder: you’re doing great. 

Stay curious, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Imposter syndrome might always linger – even some of the greatest leaders doubt themselves sometimes. It’s about how you keep it moving. You’ve most definitely got this. 

Learn more with Humi

To learn more about how your people leaders can invest in your career growth, get them to chat with our team here

Keep an eye out on our Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for quality articles published frequently. 

For more leadership advice and inspo, we recently sat down with Humi’s four co-founders to talk about Humi’s beginnings, leadership, and the journey of how Humi got to where it is. Click here to binge ‘The origin series’ now.

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