Just because you’re entry level doesn’t mean you can’t churn out awesome work and positively affect your company’s bottom line.
As an entry level employee, you’ve got to kick @$$ and take names to eventually move up from your position. But it’s up to you to decide what kind of entry level employee you’ll be.
Here are a few tips for getting ahead in your entry level position:
1. Find a mentor. I owe much of my success today to my mentors throughout the years. Gaining a professional mentor will have a serious impact on your career. You’ll gain a sounding board, valuable contact, and someone who can share their ups and downs within the industry.
Seek out someone within your company or industry who you admire. Your mentoring relationship could take off with an email, tweet, or even a LinkedIn connection. Invite this person to coffee to learn more about their professional experiences.
2. Seek out feedback and act accordingly. Advancement comes with improvement. No one expects you to be perfect as an entry level employee, but you should be proving to your manager that you’re interested in learning and improving over time.
If you aren’t receiving regular feedback from evaluations or reviews, reach out to your manager to set up a time to chat one-on-one about your performance. Create a plan for self-improvement based on what’s shared with you, or keep a daily log to help you keep track of your accomplishments.
3. Build your network. Develop professional relationships inside and outside of your company. Advancing in your career often comes down to who you know. Make sure you’re at company events like cocktail hours, and attend networking events and conferences within your industry. Not only will you gain important insight within your field, you’ll also making lasting connections.
4. Don’t wait around for assignments. You’re not doing your company any favors by sitting around waiting for work. Instead, do plenty of research and observation so you can figure out where there are opportunities to dive in and help your company. This could mean brainstorming new ways to promote the company online or presenting a new solution for a slowed internal process. Just remember, twiddling your thumbs isn’t going to prove your worth to your manager.
5. Figure how how to get immediate ROI. If you aren’t making your company enough money to cover the cost of your employment, then you’re probably not going to be around very long. This is especially important if you’re an entry level startup employee. You don’t want to be an expense line, so try to find ways to bring in more money than you’re costing the company.
6. Make your boss look good. You don’t need to kiss ass just make his or her job easier. After all, they’re the decision maker who will determine whether or not you move up within the company. Making your boss look good doesn’t take a ton of extra effort — just do your job right, ask questions, and turn out excellent work. This will reflect well on your boss.
7. No tasks should be beneath you. Stay humble and never forget your title as an entry level employee. No one likes being tasked menial work, but taking care of it with a positive attitude is crucial to your success. In fact, you can use these tasks as an opportunity to create efficiency in your position.
8. Never stop learning. Just because you landed a job doesn’t mean you’re done learning. It’s actually quite the opposite. Staying “in the know” about your industry will be essential to your career. Aside from taking advantage of every training opportunity offered at your company, go out and learn about your company and industry on your own — read books, do your research, attend events, or even take an online class.
Don’t let your entry level title get in the way of being an awesome employee. Above all, be proactive instead of reactive.
What are you doing to advance as an entry level employee?
About Ilya Pozin:
Founder of Ciplex. Columnist for Inc, Forbes & LinkedIn. Gadget lover, investor, mentor, husband, father, and ’30 Under 30′ entrepreneur. Follow Ilya below to stay up-to-date with his articles and updates!