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New Professionals: Stand Out and Get Ahead at Work

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
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Many young professionals feel stuck in their careers right now. Many don’t understand what's expected at work or how to go about managing their careers.

I wrote my new book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, to explain everything you, as a new professional, need to know to stand out and get ahead in the workplace. The purpose of the book is to empower you, give you a strategic career guide, and to push you to take action in your life.

In Tuesday’s, September 17 free Career Week webcast, “New Professionals: How to Stand Out and Promote Yourself,”  I will share with you the new rules for building a successful career in an age of economic uncertainty. You’ll learn about what managers are looking from research that I did in partnership with American Express.  Here are some key takeaways from the book that I will discuss in the webcast. 

Become an entrepreneur at work.

After you've proven yourself in your current job, you should strive to expand your role by taking on new projects that can benefit your company. Look for areas in your company that can be improved and think about opportunities that your company can take advantage of.

Do your research and put together a presentation to convince your manager that you can help solve the problem and get them to invest in you. In a new study for my book, in partnership with American Express, we found that 58 percent of managers are either very willing or extremely willing to support entrepreneurial employees.

Instead of jumping from company to company, look inside first.

I typically see employees who get bored with their jobs and immediately try and leave their company. I recommend that you try and find an internal opportunity that challenges you and where you can best leverage your strengths. Instead of looking outside for new opportunities, try looking inside first.

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In fact, 73 percent of managers in our study are very willing or extremely willing to support employees who want to move within the corporation. After you spend at least two years at your job, ask your manager if you can have more responsibilities or to support you if you see a new job posting in your internal job board.

Engage in activities outside of the office.

Once you get home from work, that doesn't mean you should shut your professional self down completely. Join professional organizations and social groups so that you can expand your knowledgebase and network with likeminded people. Everything you do outside of work can help you become a better employee inside of work. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of managers are very willing or extremely willing to support an employee's professional related activities outside of the office.

Think twice before you Facebook friend your manager.

Facebook is still perceived as a "social" network, whereas LinkedIn is geared to more professional networking. We found that only 14 percent of managers are either very comfortable or extremely comfortable being friends with employees. Before you friend them, find out what their comfort level is and think about how strong your relationship is with them. If you both talk about personal aspects of your lives, they will probably be more open to being friends with you on Facebook.

Develop your soft skills.

We found that managers, and even recruiters, value soft skills over hard skills. Some 61 percent of managers believe that soft skills are most important. Soft skills may be intangible, but they are crucial to career success. They include interpersonal communication, the ability to prioritize work, handle conflicts and even having a positive attitude. Put yourself into as many situations as you can where you can practice your soft skills, get feedback and improve.

So join me on Tuesday, September 17, for the free Career Week webcast, “How to Stand Out and Promote Yourself,” to learn more strategies for starting your career off on the right foot.  Don't leave your career to chance, promote yourself, your talents and always strive to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.

About the Author
Dan Schawbel is a New York Times bestselling author, Partner and Research Director at Future Workplace, and the Founder of both Millennial Branding and WorkplaceTrends.com. He is the bestselling author of two career books: Promote Yourself and Me 2.0. His third book, Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation, will be published by Hachette on November 13th, 2018.

Through his companies, he’s conducted dozens of research studies and worked with major brands including American Express, GE, Microsoft, Virgin, IBM, Coca Cola and Oracle. He is the host of “5 Questions with Dan Schawbel”, a podcast where he interviews a variety of world-class human by asking them 5 questions in less than 15 minutes.

In addition, he has written countless articles for Forbes, Fortune, TIME, The Economist, Quartz, The World Economic Forum, The Harvard Business Review, The Guardian, and others that have combined generated over 15 million views. He has been recognized on several lists including Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30”, Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30”, Business Insider’s “40 Under 40”, BusinessWeek’s “20 Entrepreneurs You Should Follow,” and as one of Workforce Magazine’s “Game Changers”.

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