So, being the rookie in a room full of veterans is very intimidating. I know the feeling: sweating, feet bouncing up and down, shifting in your chair, nodding excessively when people look at you, giving them assurance you are listening and that you comprehend. It is understandable to be nervous in this unfamiliar environment. Stay calm, it is normal.
I’ve been the new guy. The person they assigned a project to and has a concerning amounts of experience. Maybe you freak out, you want to leave, you want to quit, think about if you’ve made the wrong career choice. Just relax a little bit. The beginning of your career is where you don’t know much about anything, you know school. But it doesn’t matter. In my experience, management and co-workers have realized that I am new to the IT world, and have been more than willing to help. This is your time to learn. Your go-to tool should be your open ears.
Making yourself credible in a room full of seasoned professionals can be a challenge, but you can absolutely be a subject matter expert in no time. You don’t need to know everything; it’s ok. You won’t. The people you work with don’t know everything. Most are probably just really good at acting like they do anyways (and they use the steps in my guide below).
Using these techniques has allowed me to advance in my career very quickly. I’ve become the lead for a global CRM solution with a total of 3 years of experience, and 6 months at my current company. Am I the most technically advanced designer of this software? Absolutely not. But I am willing to listen, learn, build relationships, and accept challenges. Because of this, I am trusted with the success of a very large client and people know who I am.
Take notes! On paper. With a pen. Close your laptop and put your phone away (bad habit of mine).
2. Be Honest
Say “I don’t know”, and follow-up. If you don’t, you could catch yourself in a bad situation.
3. Never be a “know-it-all”
Especially when you don’t know anything. When people talk about you at lunch, which they will, you want it to be good things. Not “hey, Phil is a really cocky dude”. Refer to tip #1.
4. Find at least one area that you can become an expert on quickly.
This will allow you to be a subject matter expert in at least one topic. Then do as much research as you can and make it a point not to fail.
5. Bite off more than you can chew, sometimes.
Maybe only a little, or not at all. Huh? Just make sure to breach your comfort zone at least a little bit. If not, you will remain stagnant.
6. Don’t be a “no” man.
You don’t win in blackjack if you don’t bet. Volunteer for something you know you can do very well and this will give you buffer time to learn more in areas you don’t know.
7. Where you lack in technical capability, excel in things you are good at.
For example, I did a presentation on something I knew very well in a Lunch and Learn. This gave me a quick win, and a few points of credibility in my back pocket.
8. Be honest with your manager in difficult situations – it will only come back to bite you if you are not.
9. Find a mentor.
This can be anybody you have a good relationship with. This will help you tremendously.
10. Make your successes visible!
This is your time to gain credibility from the small wins! You want people to know who you are, especially your managers.
11. The relationships you build will save you!
Real, in-person relationships, not only on Facebook or Twitter. They are they gold of the professional world.
Beyond the guide above, make sure you enjoy what you do. If you don’t, your survival will only last so long. If you are not happy with your career, make a change. I have made many major changes in my career path over the past 7 years, which I talk about in my blog. If you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to me at LifeUnburied@gmail.com, or check out my blog LifeUnburied.com.
Phil Case is a 27 years old and has been navigating the professional world for about 6 years and has made a good name for myself in many companies. He is very passionate about what he does, and he stays involved in his community. His goal is to help all young professionals achieve the same, if not more, success.
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Category: Personal Branding