[30 Day Challenge] 30 Pieces of Early Career Advice

Random Observation/Comment #467: Blogposts taught me more about lifehacking, confidence, and interviewing more than any professor.

akshay rooftop

Why This List?

Those graduating from college often bump into a wall that I like to call “Now What?”  You did what they were told, but now that you’re in the real world, you get to tell yourself what to do and choose whether or not you can have breakfast foods for all 3 meals.  Awesome, but totally scary.  Here are some things you should realize and do in your early career:

  1. Learn to communicate – verbally and via documentation
  2. Keep yourself a valuable asset – Never stop learning
  3. Dream big and make a plan
  4. Stay meaningfully connected with your peers
  5. Ask questions
  6. Learn to take notes quickly (thanks Fontaine)
  7. Take time to digest, decipher, and relate your notes to your existing knowledge
  8. Build an online brand (github, blogging, linkedin descriptions)
  9. Utilize your resources effectively
  10. Join mentorship programs as a mentor and a mentee
  11. Understand communication etiquette
  12. Learn small talk in social situations
  13. Take an intro programming class to understand coding structure
  14. Reflect on your accomplishments and successes
  15. Reflect on your lessons learned
  16. Be transparent with your manager
  17. Research background about the industry and the strategy for it
  18. Learn to represent information visually (especially useful for presentations to non-technical)
  19. Learn how to interview and represent the bigger picture of your projects
  20. Keep on-going projects and challenges
  21. At your early career phase, try to reduce your commute time (it will help with networking and longer hours where needed)
  22. Build a comfortable support team/advisors of friends and family that can help you through your issues
  23. Help your peers – don’t compete with them. Life is not a competition and you’ll find helping other people will benefit you later on.
  24. Figure out what you love to do by looking at where you spend the most time
  25. Build rapport with a sponsor – someone who can speak on your behalf and push your career forward
  26. Understand your career path option expiration dates
  27. Understand all the skills needed to enter an industry
  28. Take some of those personality exams to see what your personality fits – don’t try to force yourself into certain positions if you’re not happy there
  29. Take ownership of projects by rising to the challenge
  30. Don’t wait to start planning and making things happen

~See Lemons Always Early in a Career