You did it! You spent four years studying, cramming, and competing, and now you have a college degree to show for it. Even better, the fruits of your labour have finally paid off, and you’ve landed your first job; congratulations on starting your career!
So how can you set yourself apart during this transformational time in your professional life? We spoke to a few of our current Salesforce managers — who not too long ago were in your shoes — who offered their advice on how to navigate your first year in the workforce.
1. Have patience
The truth is, it doesn’t happen overnight for anyone. It takes time to build your dream career. It’s great to be ambitious, but if you want to build a long-term career, do yourself a favour and lessen the pressure on yourself. “Setting yourself apart doesn’t mean you have to work 80 hours per week. Your work-life balance is just as important as anyone else’s. Cherish your time outside of the office. Recharge, regroup and find joy in something. You’ll be a better employee because of it,” says Adam Hoover, BDA Manager based in Indianapolis.
The takeaway: be patient and listen to your intuition when you can feel yourself biting off more than you can chew.
2. Embrace your beginner’s mindset
When you have the least amount of experience in the room, it might feel like you don’t have anything valuable to contribute. But Gemma Hudson, APAC Program & Graduate Lead based in Singapore says you need to change your perspective, “Focus on what you can do in your new role, not what anyone else can do. Comparing yourself isn’t helpful – your journey is unique.”
The idea that you don’t have anything to contribute couldn’t be the farthest thing from the truth – you are actually a gold mine of new ideas. If you’re dealing with impostor syndrome, take comfort in the fact that you were hired for a reason, your hiring manager saw potential in you even if you don’t see it yet. So while you may perceive your lack of experience as a burden, others perceive it as a blessing.
3. Avoid unrealistic expectations
You don’t want to be the person who overpromises and underdelivers. It’s normal to overpromise because you’re new – you want to say yes to everything. A good rule of thumb is to over-communicate with your boss when it comes to your bandwidth and workload. The more honest you are about where you are and how you’re doing, even if you feel like you’re behind, the better your boss can support you.
As you get started in your new role, Hudson recommends, “Understand what’s expected of you at key milestones (one week, one month, three months, etc.) by having conversations with your manager. This will help you avoid unrealistic expectations and to prioritize the skills you need to master first.”
4. Ask questions
You don’t know everything, but you should strive to know as much as you can. “Asking questions is your best tool to succeed in understanding the software you’ll be working on, not to mention, it’ll assist you with engaging with your coworkers, show them you’re interested in understanding and allow them to share their knowledge with you,“ says Maya Shtern, QA Manager at Datorama based in Israel.
”Asking questions will open the door for your teammates to dive deeper into areas you take an interest in or need to understand better, and it’ll also guarantee you build your knowledge base in the best way possible.“
And fun fact: most people are happy to to answer your questions and teach you something that they’ve become skilled at.
5. Build your network
It’s good to know people in high places, but it’s better to know people in many places. “Build a strong support network including fellow grads, friends who have been on your path, and managers. These people will help you navigate the successes, challenges and questions you have,” says Hudson.
Your professional network will serve as a bridge to your future job opportunities, a sounding board for navigating murky waters, and a source of inspiration as you envision where you want to be 10 years into your career.
Above all, “Be kind and intentional in building relationships – because you actually care about people,” says Thomas Olivato Teixeira, Success Specialist Manager based in Argentina.
Starting a new position in a new company is always both an exciting time and a challenging one, no matter what your experience level is. Keep in mind everyone starts somewhere, so everything you’re experiencing has been felt by someone at some point. The point is, you’re not alone. Hudson sums it up perfectly when she reminds us, “Have fun, celebrate the successes, and reflect on the challenges. This is a fabulous journey – take the time to be mindful of the great moments and to learn from your experiences.“