When I started in Advertising Technology ten years ago, it was supposed to be a temporary assignment until law school. However, I quickly became enamored with the industry and ultimately chose to forego my law school goals for a career in the advertising technology industry.
While I quickly learned about the industry, it took a lot of mistakes, hiccups, and emotional misery to properly navigate the working world. In hopes to help prevent someone from making the my career mistakes, here are six career tips I wish I received as a new professional almost ten years into my career.
Always Ask For More
Negotiating a higher salary is an important step in the job offer process and is one of the most overlooked challenges of job hunting.
Earlier in my career, I wish I know how and why to ask for money or negotiate the entire benefits package. It is crucial to learn you should always ask for more money when receiving a job offer as early as possible for the below reasons:
Most employers anticipate pay rise requests from employees; hence they rarely lead with their best offer and leave “room” for future negotiations.
The worst that could happen is getting a “no” after you requested a pay hike.
It can take a long time before you get another opportunity to request a pay increase.
If a pay increase is not possible, shift the conversation to your complete benefits package. Besides an increase in compensation, there are several other things a hiring manager can offer: signing bonus, flexible work schedule, professional development stipend. Think about what else you could receive to make the offer more enticing and aligned to what you need outside of money.
Go After What You Want - Do not Get Forced Into A Career Move
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an employee is allowing your employer or boss to decide your career direction.
Sometimes this will look like the career path aligned to your role or a filler position because no one else could do the job.
In my first job, I remember taking on additional work/roles that did not align to what I wanted to do nor would help me grow personally and professionally and hated. Ultimately, I realized I made a wrong and decision and had to look for work at a new job. However, I could have prevented this by knowing what I wanted and going after it.
Do not let your company or manager force you into a career move that is not aligned with your career needs and goals.
Show Up As Your Authentic Self
Show up as yourself is probably the most important career advice that I wish to have received early in my career.
As a minority in my industry, being willing to sacrifice my authenticity during work hours compromised my mental health and exasperated my imposter syndrome early on in my career.
Be sure to demonstrate and embrace all of who you are so that other people can get used to it, and most importantly, you can learn to feel comfortable as yourself in all spaces.
Make Friends and Network Outside Of Your Department
Being respectful and engaging with your teammates is necessary for any job. However, networking and making friends outside of your department is critical to your ongoing success.
Do not limit your network to people within your immediate role. This is how mentors, experts, power opportunities are discovered. Also, limiting your professional circle to only those on your team will limit your understanding of your company and industry and can unknowingly be detrimental to your growth as it limits your options in case of a career change.
Cheat code: as a new or entry-level employee, the best people you can make friends with are HR and IT.
Do Not Be Afraid To Ask Questions
As I progressed in my career, I had to get over my fear of asking questions at the risk of looking unintelligent for not knowing something. I quickly learned that inquisitive nature is encouraged and helps make the most effective and diligent workers.
Fearing the perception of 'looking stupid' is not as bad as actually lacking the information. As a new employee, prioritize knowing the answer and getting all of the necessary information over the perception of looking like you don't know something.
What career advice do you wish you would have received just starting out in your career?