My dad, an elementary school principal, used to say, “Make a positive impression on teachers in the first week of school and you will have more leeway when you mess up later in the year. Otherwise you will spend the school year pushing a rock uphill trying to recover from a bad first impression.”
His advice made me more aware of the initial impression I make so I can have more flexibility to choose opportunities. This pre-work gave me a stable foundation in my career.
Everyone leaves a footprint, an impression based on actions or behavior. The strong foundation for any career is the impact you make on others. Not just the work you do. Not just the accomplishments. But the impact you have on others.
No one is an island.
Networking, building relationships, getting things done through influence are all built on the foundation of the impact you make on others especially at the beginning of a work relationship.
Let’s see this in action.
A recent client, Don, is disappointed in his career. Since he graduated eight years ago with a marketing degree he has wandered from one inconsequential job to another, uncertain how to get that product marketing job he wants.
Don does not have a strong foundation for his career. He is uncertain of the footprint he leaves in his current role but he is not sure what to do to be more effective or even content in his current role much less how to get the product marketing career he really wants. He thinks he needs to change jobs.
I think Don needs to build a stronger foundation for his career so he has more to offer a new employer as he pursues his ideal job. Growing in place while he builds that foundation will give him confidence as he learns new relationship skills.
Tips to make a strong foundation for career success
Here are some tips to make a positive impression, the strong foundation for success when winds of change shift:
• Smile. Friendliness breaks down barriers and leaves a good impression.
• Be open to new ideas and suggestions from others
• Work hard. Do what you say you are going to do and deliver results on time and under budget to build your reputation.
• Volunteer for stretch assignments.
• Thrive where you are planted. Build some accomplishments that demonstrate your strengths when your foundation supports career growth.
Sometimes it is hardest to see your own imprint. We can help you evaluate your situation to strengthen your career foundation. In the meantime, download our eBook, 5 Steps to the Right Career Path to build your own solid career foundation.