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7 Tips to Kick Start Your Career

We are often asked how to plan your career when first starting out. When taking your first career step it can be daunting. I remember when I left school my careers advice amounted to telling me I should:

  • Be a solicitor - I couldn’t face the training and had zero confidence so standing up in court presenting a well formed argument filled me with terror.

  • Be a forensic scientist - I can’t even watch casualty without feeling my stomach flip because that broken leg’s got to hurt. There would be no way I’d want to look at a crime scene.

  • Be a psychologist - to be fair knowing what I know now it would have been a really interesting career but at the time I left school I hadn’t a clue what this really was and no-one took time to explain it to me.

1. Understand What You Enjoy

Clearly the careers advice I was given missed the point, it didn’t take into account what I was good at, what didn’t I want to do and what did I want to learn. This is a good place to start when thinking about your first or next career step. It allows you to look at an advert and assess if you want to apply and if you might enjoy it.

2. Don’t Worry Be Happy

Particularly when starting out, my advice is don’t get hung up about it. Your career is likely to last 50 years so you have plenty of time to try things and decide if you do or don’t like it. 43% of millennials are planning to stay in their job for 2 years according to a recent article in the Independent.* Generally the amount of time people spend in a job is 4 years so that’s between 12 and 25 different jobs for you to try out for size and find what makes you happy.

3. There’s Nothing Wrong with Starting at the Bottom

I started as a HR administrator, I had a degree and could have gone head to head with thousands of other graduates for a space on a graduate program but I chose not to. By starting in a role that technically I could have got leaving school with my GCSE’s meant I learnt from the bottom up. It meant when I got promoted and managed others I knew what their role involved, I knew what the struggles were.

4. You Don’t Need a Detailed Plan

I remember leaving university and everyone I knew had a career plan for the next 5 or even

10 years. I had no clue and felt really inadequate.

I had a plan for what I wanted to learn in my current role and a plan for building skills that I knew were good general skills like confidence, presenting and organisation.

The good news is that it didn’t matter, that I hadn’t mapped out my next 5 years. What happened because I didn’t have a plan was I looked for a role that I thought was interesting and that I’d be good at. It wasn’t about being a HR administrator and working my way up to HR Director.

It meant that when a role came up doing something a bit different I saw it as a potential opportunity. If I had a fixed plan I might not even have considered the role as it didn’t fit my plan. My career ended up in me working in HR, Learning and Development, Payroll, Change Management and Project Management. It’s not a typical HR career, but each role gave me the opportunity to develop new skills and was an exciting challenge.

The background in HR was a key theme running through my later jobs and I still use that knowledge today.

5. Find a Good Role Model and Mentor

I was lucky enough to have an amazing HR Director in my first HR role, she was great at giving you jobs that were a stretch. She was always there to support you and as long as you were honest if you were struggling and she had 100% belief in me even when I didn’t. This meant I learnt a massive amount that has shaped my career ever since.

6. Don’t Get Comfortable

Don’t be frightened of stepping out of your comfort zone, whilst it’s a nice place to be you don’t grow. Secondments or short term projects are a great way to experience something new. I remember being sent out to deal with things I’d never done before, it was uncomfortable, but I learnt so much about myself along with new skills.

7. Feedback is a Gift

Feedback is a gift when you are starting out in your career it’s vital to pay attention to any feedback you get. It’s likely that feedback will come from people who have been successful in getting to where you might like to be one day. When starting out you have lots to learn and learning from someone who has done it before can save you time.

These seven tips give you some first steps to consider when starting out on your career journey.

The final step is to create a good quality CV that showcases your current skills. If you’re not sure where to start, click here to get a copy of our free hints and tips guide.


The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Snow Limits Coaching disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.



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