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11 Early Career Tips You Need To Know

11 Early Career Tips You Need To Know

Looking back, it’s easy to see places where you’ve taken a wrong step, or approaches that didn’t work as well as you thought they might. Maybe you didn’t have enough information to make the correct decision, or maybe it was simply a learning moment, one of many people have to suffer through.

To help you avoid early career mistakes, members from Forbes CoachesCouncil have compiled a list of things they wished they’d known when they were starting out. This advice is something they often share with new clients or colleagues, in hopes of steering them away from accidentally hampering their professional lives or business. Here’s what they learned:

1. Focus On Listening

Listen first and listen well. Don't bring answers into a meeting — you have not even asked the questions to identify the specific problems yet. Capitalism is a simple concept: You build trust and win business by listening well, identifying the problem and making yourself an asset by delivering solutions, whether or not it gets you a sale. - Josh Luke, Health-Wealth

2. Be Comfortable Saying ‘I Don’t Know’

As a leader, it's critical to feel comfortable saying "I don't know." I was an executive director at 23, and felt constant pressure to demonstrate my capabilities. I had to learn the harsh lesson that leadership doesn't have all the answers. Self-confidence and team trust are built from exposing your vulnerability. - Karin Naslund, Naslund Consulting Group Inc

3. Ask If You’re Offering The Right Information

As a recruiting leader, I've noticed that during successful interviews, candidates often “checked in.” This means they would share information, but pause and ask questions like “is this what you’re looking for?” or “does that help?” When being interviewed, it’s really common to provide as much information as possible. Checking in makes sure you’re delivering the right information. - Mike Manoske, Mike Manoske Coaching

4. Invest In Your Business

When I started my business, I did not think I would have to invest very much money. Now I tell my clients that the sooner you are willing to invest in your business tools, continued education, and good mentors, the sooner you will be able to earn real money. If you treat your business like a hobby, it will pay you like a hobby: nothing. - Hanna Hermanson, Dream Life is Real Life

5. Hire Outside Experts

One thing I should have done is to build a team of employees, freelancers or consultants who are more skilled in areas that are not in my wheelhouse. It is often considerably cheaper in the long run to hire a professional than to learn from your own mistakes. - Kimberly Guiry, Alchemy Leadership Coaching

6. Don’t Settle For Small Game

One thing I wish I had embraced earlier in my career is to “hunt elephants, not rabbits.” I’m really not talking about tracking down Thumper. I’m talking about going after the big projects, ones that may seem impossible to capture, rather than chasing after a scattered assortment of little projects that seem like they should be easier to catch. - Steven Maranville, Maranville Enterprises.

7. Treat Your Career Like An Experiment

The biggest piece of advice I offer to my coaching students is to treat their career like an experiment. It's OK to fail earlier on, if it means you're getting closer to identifying your career aspirations. It's also extremely advantageous to build strategic networks earlier on in your career and nurture that network. “The people you know” is half the battle. - Gaurav Valani, CareerSprout

8. Embrace Redirection

There's value in leaving things "broken" for awhile. Not everything needs to be fixed right now, or fixed by you — and, sometimes, not fixed ever. Take a moment to take stock on what went wrong, how it fell apart and if it can be improved, not just repaired. If it can't be improved, then it probably shouldn't be repaired. Mistakes happen to correct, teach and redirect us. Embrace redirection. - Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, Leading Through Living Community

9. Make Sure You’re Moving To Where You Want To Go

When starting your career, carefully consider what type of services and clients will lead to creating the lifestyle you desire most. It's very possible to make great money and not enjoy your day-to-day schedule. As business people, we must look at long-term goals and make sure what we are doing today will lead us where we want to go. - Monique Alvarez, Monique Alvarez Enterprises

10. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

Early in my career, I often compared myself and my performance to others around me. I always felt as though I was searching for something, which in turn meant that I pushed myself at breakneck pace. What I now understand is that "I" was what I was looking for. Staying in my unique lane and being authentically who I am is enough. - India Martin, Leadership For Life

11. You Can Only Control Three Things

The most powerful advice I've ever heard is that you can only control three things: Everything you say, everything you do and everything you think. And that's enough. What might have changed for me in my career had I learned this earlier? That's why I always share this insight with my clients, helping them focus only on what's in their control — and letting go of the rest. - Darcy Eikenberg, Red Cape Revolution

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