With so many forces at work, people often forget that ultimately, they are in control of their own career trajectory. Opportunities aren’t handed to you; you must make your own luck and take your own risks. The further along you get in your career, however, the fewer risks you’ll be able to afford to take. Once you’ve begun racking up familial and financial obligations, you’ll be far less likely to step outside your comfort zone and take risks. The time to take risks is early in your career – but that doesn’t mean you should be reckless, however. These are the risks you should take early in your career, that can make a real difference down the line.
Negotiate Job Offers
Everyone should negotiate job offers, but early in your career it’s absolutely critical to make the effort to get what you’re worth from a potential employer. If you start off your first job making less than market value, you will always earn less than your peers for the rest of your career. According to Linda Babcock, author of Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, upper-level executives who negotiate their first salary made $500,000 more over their careers than those who do not negotiate their first salary. Even if an employer gives you everything you’re looking for, go ahead and negotiate anyway. You have nothing to lose, it’s great practice and you may end up earning more than you thought.
Volunteer For Unpopular Projects
On every team in every company around the world, there are tasks and projects that nobody wants to do. Whether it’s working with a difficult client or working on a project with impossible deadlines or an unrealistic budget, bosses are looking for people and step up, so they don’t have to twist people’s arms to get projects staffed.
Make an impression by raising your hand and volunteering when no one else will. You run the risk of being rejected, but that’s ok. You still stepped up when your boss needed something. You also run the risk of being assigned the task or project and failing. If you work closely with your boss and keep her in the loop throughout the project, you increase the odds that you’ll have her support and you increase the odds that you can take that nearly impossible task and make it a success.
Share Your Ideas
Sharing ideas, especially when you are the new kid on the block can be a bit of a risky proposition. You don’t want to be seen as an upstart who thinks they know everything. However, if you truly see a way to make things better, to help save the company money, to eliminate redundancies, etc., it’s worth taking the risk.
The trick is to be as diplomatic as possible. You don’t want to insult your peers and supervisor or put them on the defense. Take the time to lay out your idea as a solution to a problem. For example, if you can save your team 10 hours a week on redundant work, lead with the benefit. This will increase the chances of catching your boss’s attention in a positive way. Your ideas may likely be rejected, but your boss will remember that you went out of your way to contribute to the success of the team.
If you are an IT professional in Boston looking for new career opportunities, contact FootBridge today. Our professional recruiters can connect you with some of the most innovative and dynamic companies in the country. Together, we can help you achieve your career goals.