5 Lessons from the First Years of My Career

I’ve been in the corporate life for the past seven years now, first two years as a management consultant based on the New York City and the last five and a FAANG tech company, holding roles across a sales and marketing teams.

In this blog, I wanna share five important lessons professional bigcommerce seo experts in uk learned from observing the high-performers I’ve had the pleasure of working with that may benefit those of you in the first few years of your career. Let’s just get started. First, I learned how to quickly build credibility with my colleagues, even with zero working experience.

Zero Working Experience

That is to always find ways to reduce friction for others. The idea is there are universal actions, anyone can take in the workplace to make the colleagues’ lives easier and as a byproduct come off as more professional. For example, a very simple yet realistic scenario is when a teammate messages you to send them the documents that were presented during a team meeting.

Instead of replying with links in the messaging app itself, take a few extra minutes, compose an email, with the files attached and include a brief description of those documents. This way your colleague can review the email at their convenience and not have to dig through chat history at a later point in time. Or take another common situation. Your manager asks you to forward them an email that got lost in their inbox.

Back And Forth Process Of Searching

Instead of going through the back and forth process of searching for it yourself, sending them the title and ask them if they found it simply perform the search in your own g-mail inbox and send them that URL directly. Solving their problem in one easy step. If you don’t know how to do this, make sure to check out my blog on Gmail tips and tricks.

I can go over these examples, right? Include detailed agendas in your calendar invites, send action-oriented follow-up emails after meetings. But the idea here is if you’re able to make the lives of those you work with easier, they’re gonna quickly see you as someone who’s very reliable. Someone who’s able to take a more responsibility, even with relatively little industry experience. Second, I learned how to influence without authority.

Common Pinpoint For Professionals

As you can imagine, this is a very common pinpoint for professionals in the first few years of their careers. Since there’s a perception that without a senior title, you can’t really tell others what to do. When I first run the sales team in my current company I learned the hard way that I didn’t exactly have an equal relationship with the client since my positioning is that of a salesperson selling a product.

Compounding this issue was that I needed to convince internal teams to provide me with the resources to pitch the client. And they don’t report to my manager or even my manager’s manager. Then it came across as principal called constructive persuasion in an article by Harvard Business Review. I realized a lot of my colleagues were applying this concept to exert influence without a senior title.

Spoiler Alert Constructive Persuasion

It is just a fancy way of saying, taking the initiative. But here’s an example of how it works. Following a meeting your manager delegates to you, the junior member, the task of getting the rest of the team to input the revenue projections. You can either A, do the bare minimum open a spreadsheet and expect everyone else to fill it out on time because the manager said so or B, create a structured table, make it look pretty by color coding it and clearly mark who inputs what by when. You can also follow up individually.

They would almost feel bad if it didn’t help because you already did 99% of the work. And this brings us to lesson number three, which is visibility in the workplace does not equate to boasting about your achievements. For those of us with a few years of working experience, you’ve probably come across the terms, visibility, presence, exposure, and these phrases are often associated with job promotions and salary raises. On one hand, it’s a little naive to believe that hard work gets recognized automatically.

Untrue About Broadcasting

On the other, it’s simply untrue that broadcasting what you’ve done immediately means you get more exposure because that often comes off as a bit arrogant and superficial. So the one thing I learned from my colleagues who consistently had strong presence is this. They would always make the time to share their knowledge and experience with the broader group, sound counterintuitive? Here’s an example. When I first run the sales team as an account manager.

Revenue Pipeline Management

I struggled with revenue pipeline management. So I signed up for internal training and that one hour live session, I learned how to segment, prioritize and organize my book of business and I even received a spreadsheet template that I could use immediately. And when my manager asked me about my sudden improvement, I said, “Oh, Eric Henry, from the Australia sales team, “he held a workshop last week. “It was amazing. “I’m using his spreadsheet right now.” And I’m sure I’m not the only one who gave him credit for teaching us new concepts, right? And just like that, he became more visible in front of the sales managers.

Help Onboard New Hires

A few months later, it was my turn to help onboard new hires. And I thought it would be more efficient if I compiled and distributed product knowledge in a Google slides format. Those texts ended up being featured in a monthly newsletter that was sent to all our sales teams in the APAC region. So while hard work may not get recognized automatically by itself, good work rarely goes unnoticed by those you’re trying to help. The fourth lesson I picked up is how to intelligently say no.

All my colleagues are extremely smart, very hard to working hold themselves to high standards. But because of this, they often find themselves taking on more work than a healthy work-life balance would allow for, which is a very common phenomenon in the consulting, finance and tech industries. At the same time, if handled incorrectly, rejecting a colleague or senior manager may damage your working relationship with them. And I found that colleagues who held on to this style well had a relatively simple solution. When you’re already at maximum capacity and another request comes in.

Know How Long Your Current Tasks Are Gonna Take

You wanna first let them know how long your current tasks are gonna take, and that you’re open to help when those are completed. Then, and this is the most important part, make sure to point them to another resource that they can use in the meantime to solve their problem. Or as Austin Kleon puts it in his bestselling book, “Keep Going” after you decline offer them another form of support.

Also Read: The 6 Most Common Types of Workplace Emails

This combination is genius because in the short term, you prove you have their best interests at heart by pointing them to an alternative solution. And in the long-term, you’re still open to help once your own priorities are taken care of. A workplace example could be if asking me to pull data for them, point them to a dashboard, let them know what filters are used so they could download it themselves.

How To Start Making Blog Content

For me, I kinda receive a lot of message requests from colleagues, friends and strangers and like on how to start making blog content. And since I worked like 60 hours a week in my full-time job, it will be basically impossible for me to have all those chats, but I will take the time and organize the websites, links and resources I use to get started and send that to them. 99% of the time, that would be exactly what they were looking for in the first place.

Network With An Open Mind

A bad habit I picked up in college is to assume networking automatically means having an agenda, a single purpose for every coffee chat. And the problem with this approach is that you become so focused on what you think you might want, that you close yourself off to other potentially better possibilities. I’m a prime example of this. When I was in a sales team, I thought I was gonna be there for a while. I loved the work,

Met A Senior Marketing Manager

I had my numbers, but it wasn’t until I met a senior marketing manager in a team offsite, that I even realize what product marketing actually meant. Two months and four internal interviews later, I joined the marketing team and now I like it even better than sales. And I’m not just saying that ’cause my colleagues might be watching. All jokes aside, two concrete tips for networking. Number one, make it a goal to have a coffee chat with someone outside of your core team once a week, or at least once every two weeks.

Second, be genuinely curious about what they do. More often than not, even if it’s not an area you actively want to move into, you might find there are collaboration opportunities between your teams that will benefit both your work. So that was around about five important lessons I learned in the first few years of my career. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have great managers, mentors and colleagues guiding me all this time.


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