When you’re younger, it’s tough to get management and other co-workers to take you seriously. Sometimes it feels like a real uphill battle which can hold you back. Avoid becoming negative about your career prospects by finding ways to advance your career regardless of the prospects you see for it at the present time. The more proactive you are on your own behalf, the greater chance you’ll have of getting noticed for all the right reasons without looking like you’re trying to grab the spotlight.
Here are some tips on how to advance your career when you’re one of the younger people on the team.
Work Against Preconceptions
The present thinking about millennials is less than stellar. While companies see their energetic predisposition as a positive, a lack of commitment to the company itself is not attractive to businesses that see staff turnover as a costly hassle.
Understand that many managers have preconceptions about younger workers that cannot be instantly overwritten. Rightly or wrongly, it won’t happen overnight. However, what you’re able to do is be the exception to the rule, in their eyes.
While a manager may always remain skeptical or generally negative about younger people in the workforce, they are still capable of appreciating a stellar worker. Develop into a valued member of the team which is then undeniable at the management level. Eventually, they’ll see you are a key person in the department and forget about your age completely.
Take Ownership and Be a Person of Your Word
When you accept a project or task, take full ownership of it. This means, not looking for excuses as to why it couldn’t be completed satisfactorily. For instance, if you’re having difficulties getting the requested information from a colleague within the company and you’re stuck, talk to your manager about the issue. They will either ask you to continue trying or will contact the line manager of the person you’ve repeatedly requested the information from and nudge things along.
While you might view this as making difficulties or a sign of failure, it’s not. You’ve spotted a bottleneck which will prevent you from completing the assignment and sought help to remove it. Without this, you couldn’t keep your word about deliverables that your manager is expecting from you.
Be Receptive to Learning
One of the best things you can do in your early career is to act like a sponge. It’s necessary to identify knowledgeable people who have useful nuggets to impart and to discern correct advice from bad suggestions.
While the workplace is competitive and some co-workers have an eye to advancement ahead of you, many realize that the team is only as strong as its weakest link. Working well as a team includes helping others in a “lift all boats” approach.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Sitting there not knowing what to do or blustering through it isn’t going to have a happy outcome. While you may not like having to ask questions, it’s often the only way to get moving again. Figuring it out on your own might work eventually, but it’s wasting time reinventing the wheel when someone in the office has it figured out already.
If there are work instructions already drawn up, make use of them. Not every position has them, so you may be left to your own devices. In which case, speaking up is necessary when you get stuck.
Identify Better Solutions That Save Time or Money
Look at the way you have been advised to perform different tasks under your remit. At first, learn the methodology that you’ve been advised to use to complete the task. This way, there’s no confusion regarding whether you’re capable of getting your job done.
Later, start looking for better solutions to each task. Streamline tasks and systems to shortcut what they already consume in people, time and other resources. Try a new approach to see if it works and can replace the existing system. Document it and then get it approved for other people who need to cover your position when on vacation or when you’re off on sick leave.
Look for Opportunities to Troubleshoot Difficult Problems
Sometimes, problems or difficulties arise that people wish to avoid getting involved with. Either co-workers are concerned that they cannot complete their other work on time if they add to their task list or they just aren’t motivated to stretch their comfort zone to an uncomfortable level.
When a major problem arises and no one is stepping forward, be the person who volunteers. Maybe even talk to a colleague and see if you can work the problem together, then put both your names forward. Doing the latter may mitigate any concern a manager has about giving sole responsibility to you on something important to the company if you’re new or still perceived as “the young one.”
Quietly Advance Your Academic Qualifications
Not all the heavy lifting is done in the office when you’re a go-getter. There are some things about business and finance along with strategic thinking and management that you need to study.
An MBA program is going to help advance your career when you’re ready for greater responsibility. Senior positions in finance and upper management open up. Also, the opportunity for higher salaries once qualified is far greater for MBA graduates.
No GMAT or GRE is required to apply for the Kettering University Online’s online MBA program. Their program is set up where you build up credits as you proceed. There are 40 credits to accumulate in total, with some core subjects and other topics that are selectable based on your interests. The electives include global leadership, supply chain management (two parts) or operations management, to name a few.
Developing your career as a younger person takes determination, persistence and drive. There will be the occasional pushback from people who resent someone younger trying to get ahead, but don’t let that deter you. Ultimately, that’s their problem. Many people get stuck in one position and don’t move up for years. It’s necessary to be far more proactive to learn quickly, take on greater responsibility and increase the attractiveness of what’s on your resume too. Then you’ll progress in your career.