10 Tips To Help Early-Career Professionals Succeed At Work

1. Make a Weekly Report: Keep to the discipline of writing down your responsibilities, achievements and next steps/deadlines once a week; Thursday is good. You might think you know this in your head, but having a regular, focused document and activity centered around “the weekly report” helps you to re-focus on what you, specifically, need to be doing. It also helps your boss to know what you’re working on. And yes, you should meet with your boss, at least once a week, even if it’s only for five minutes. Be prepared to talk to it quickly and concisely. Don’t be afraid to write down what you would say if asked. Some people keep a binder with them at all times just to be ready for questions.

2. Keep a Personal Dashboard: Write down three things and keep them in an easy to find place: Your responsibilities. Your procedures. Examples of past good work.

3. Do Ongoing Self-Assessment: Write down your successes and your failures. It is important to know where you are talented and skilled and where you need training. Also, you need to have your successes easily on hand for your performance appraisal. When you write down these things, include challenges you overcame.

4. Boss Yourself First: Imagine that you are the boss. Now imagine how the boss sees you. Fix the things you’re doing that get in the way of a positive impression.

5. Work in Small Bites: If you have a big assignment and don’t know what to do next, bite off a small chunk. Generally, these fall into one of three categories:

  • A forthcoming deadline
  • A standard operating procedure
  • An example of a successful document produced in support of the same type of assignment.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: Someone might not have time to mentor you as much as you need, but they might be able to answer one question. Also, you can offer to help somebody else at work in exchange for them helping you. For example, you may be a good writer; they may be able to help you learn a certain piece of software.

7. Fail Intentionally: Engage in a “failure activity” regularly, such as public speaking. You must fail in order to grow.

8. Learn How to Learn: It can be as simple as reading an inspirational quote online. Also, don’t be afraid to look up a how-to document online and follow the instructions. It may not work, but it’s important to know how to follow instructions from other people when you are stuck.

9. Focus and Plan: There is no such thing as “off” time. Keep lists of things that you need to do. Remove items if they’re not needed or you don’t have time. Add appointments to your calendar immediately. Use Siri or some other automated method to help you stay on track.

10. Dress the part. Exterior appearances create an interior sense of readiness. Eat well, rest and exercise along the way.


By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain. Photo via Pixabay.

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