It can be really difficult to make upward movement in your career, especially when you’re making the first jump from an entry-level job into an associate position.
What’s the most difficult thing about making this jump? And how can you make sure you’re actually ready to move up in your career? Is it possible to actually successfully sell yourself to a hiring manager and get the position without having a decade of experience under your belt?
Across several different industries, experts who’ve made the jump from entry-level jobs to associate positions, and beyond, have some tips that could be extremely helpful for those presently looking to make the leap.
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How can I Get Experience in my Entry-Level Position?
That’s a tough one. After all, how are you supposed to get experience managing a team if you’re on the lowest level of your department? How are you meant to learn how to manage multiple projects at once if you’ve never even gotten the chance to manage even one project on the job?
According to Karl Hughes, the CEO of Draft.dev, this isn’t an impossible mountain to climb.
“Start learning how to distribute tasks when you need it,” says the CEO. “Odds are, the further you move up, the more likely you are to start managing a team or teaching those who are onboarding. Know when you need help, and learn those difficult things to the point where you can teach them.”
Hughes also explained that asking for help from managers or co-workers, as long as you’ve had clearance to do so, can help you manage a large workload which is common culture in best entry-level jobs in Columbus. It can often carry the explanation that you pay attention to detail and you value the quality of your work. It also displays that you know your personal limits.
Additionally, it’s important to always be willing to learn more while you’re on the job, not just during the interview process.
Lina Miranda, the VP of Marketing at AdQuick, explains this well, “Always be willing to learn. For example, if you’re in marketing, there are so many different pieces. Some of it is design, some of it is writing, some of it is working with other companies… Be willing to learn and try to become an expert at what you’re doing.”
And AdQuick’s Head of Growth, Chris Gadek, encourages a bit more of the same, though in a slightly different light: “Be a solution-oriented person, as much as you possibly can. That can show people that you’re quick on your feet and can keep calm when things get hectic.” This is an extremely valuable skill in any industry.
How can I Keep Myself from Getting Miserable?
Burnout from job applications and work is very real, and it’s easy to get lost in it. This can make it difficult to remember why you even wanted to move up in your industry in the first place, as well as forget to take time for yourself.
But Tom Mohr of CEOQuest has something to say about this. In addition to being a business coach, he’s also an Author and Singer-Songwriter. Mohr likes to make time for his music, his wife and kids, and his church community.
He declares that you should, “always have something going on in the background that makes you happy. Don’t just focus on your career. If all you’re focusing on is your work… that’s just a recipe for disaster.”
Oprah Winfrey seems to agree. She’s been credited as having said, “Passion is energy… Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
Focusing on things that are personally fulfilling and drive your passions can be conducive to your career growth, whether that seems obvious to you or not. Doing things that you love will give you the energy and the will to keep moving forward in your career, without losing steam and letting you burn on empty.
How do I Succeed in my Interviews?
There’s a plethora of advice out there about how to succeed in your interviews, including compilations on all of the best answers for common interview questions. But there are also other key elements that you need to focus on for the interview process.
According to the CEO of Chronos Digital, Joshua Chin, the interview process begins before you’ve even applied for jobs.
He explains that you “definitely [need to] make sure that you’re on good terms with your bosses and coworkers. I’ve found that networking is really key to growing in general, and I know that a good referral can really make or break a job transition… even if you’re a superstar otherwise, one bad review can kill you.”
And it appears that what others think of you really matters in your career path, especially if you’re interested in growing your potential. Brandon Lurie, the Marketing Director for Y Meadows, hones in on this for the interview itself.
“It really doesn’t hurt to learn to market yourself. Even if you’re in the interview process and you’re only selling yourself to one person… one panel of interviewers, having self-confidence and knowing your strengths is going to be the thing that gets you to the next step,” dictates the marketing expert.
However, you don’t need to make yourself look like an ad to the hiring manager. It can be just as important to show the interviewers that you’re a real person who can relate to others on a human level.
Just take this advice from the Co-Founder of Looria, Tavis Lochhead: “Be as authentic as you can be in your interviews,” he clarifies. “You being your real self will help you loosen up and look more natural… If you look nervous, some hiring managers will see that as caring. But others will see it as a lack of confidence and will be turned off on hiring you.”
Self-confidence really appears to be key. The Co-Inventor of Tow-in Surfing, Laird Hamilton seems to think so, anyway. “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears,” he said.
It looks like confidence in your abilities, your potential growth, and your personal skill set are all key ingredients to moving up in your career.
But What About What I Need?
It’s essential that you don’t forget about yourself while you’re trying to grow in your career. Not only should you have other things going on, but it’s important to keep an eye on your personal goals and values.
Instead of settling for any job that has the position title that you want, be focused on other things that you value on a personal level as well.
Few can say this as clearly as Trey Ferro, the CEO of Spot Pet Insurance, already has. “Be very goal-oriented as you’re moving up,” Ferro presses. “If you know what you want, you’re going to know what jobs to look for to get in that direction. You’re also way, way more likely to get a job that you actually want and enjoy.”
And it looks like Ferro isn’t alone in his opinion that you should get something positive out of your work experience. Red Pocket’s Marketing Manager, Liz Donahey, puts an interesting spin on what an interview can mean for you as the interviewee.
She explains that those in the interview process have to “be very value-oriented. Be sure to show both… your own values, but also make sure that the jobs you’re looking for actually match your own values and morals. Not only are you selling yourself. Hiring managers are also selling the position to you.”
And that’s interesting to consider. Not everyone remembers that they can choose to reject a job offer if it isn’t everything that they want or need. Donahey makes it clear that you should never settle in your career.