Ken Lear is a leadership, business, and entrepreneurship expert, based out of Farmington Hills, MI.
If you are a recent graduate, then you are likely making your way into a world you have never been in before—the “real” world. Business meetings, reports, sales pitches and more can all be foreign concepts – and you want to make sure to master them with ease. While having an impressive resume and good experience is helpful, these things won’t make much of a difference if you don’t know what you are doing in the working world. Here are a few mistakes young professionals make, and how to avoid them:
Staying in a Career You Don’t Love
Just because your mother is an accountant or you went to school for journalism doesn’t mean you have to stick with that career path. If you have discovered that your chosen path is really not for you, there is no shame in pursuing something else. Maybe it’s a Master’s degree or a new line of work, but whatever it is, do it now.
“Twenty-somethings should be building a career that they want for the long haul,” says Alexis Grant, an entrepreneurial writer and digital strategist. “If you realize you are not doing the right thing, figure out how to get on the right road as soon as possible. Don’t worry so much about lost time or lost investments.”
Testing the Dress Code
Just because you work in a casual work environment, that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to wear yoga pants to work every day. While that may be within the “acceptable” realm, dressing the part is still important. Also keep in mind appropriateness. If you are unsure if a skirt is too short or if a dress shirt needs an undershirt, it’s always better safe than sorry.
Check out the Ken Lear Leadership SlideShare to learn how to be a successful entrepreneur.
Comparing Yourself to Peers
This is a hard one. It’s easy to feel down when a co-worker who got hired after you gets promoted over you – but that doesn’t mean you aren’t good at what you do. People are all at completely different stages in life. Some co-workers will have more or less experience than you, a different education, or a better affinity for leadership—and comparing yourself to them won’t do any good. Instead of being frustrated over not being “as good” as a peer, pinpoint where you want to go in your career and create steps to achieve those goals.
Getting Too Personal at Work
While there is nothing wrong with making friends at work, be careful about the personal details you share and the everyday attitude you exude. Spend time getting to know everyone before you decide whom you are going to trust. Make an effort to stay out of office gossip and take care to present yourself the way you want to be perceived.