Many students graduate college with a dream of being successful in their field, and while the definition of what it is to be a success is different for each person, my advice is always the same.
It’s a given that you need to be smart, driven and work hard, but one of the hardest and most important things you need to be able to do is communicate.
I don’t mean being able to write or speak in a professional manner (though both are important, of course). I’m talking about being able to speak to your goals, both personal and professional.
Throughout your career, you will encounter many great people who will work hard and do the right things but may not get to exactly where they want to go.
Sometimes school can get you to thinking that A+B always = C. If I work hard and do all the right things, I will be recognized. I will get an A. In a work setting that isn’t always the case. You can’t control everything and sometimes you can be your own worst enemy.
Managers are not mind-readers. Your manager won’t know what your career aspirations are, they won’t know that you think you deserve better compensation, or even if you want more challenging tasks or learning experiences.
What Can You Do? (All of the below assumes you work hard, you’re driven, ethical and a good person.)
- Communicate with yourself. What do you want? What are your expectations for your career?
- Communicate with the right people: Your family, your direct manager. Whoever you’ve identified as the key people in meeting your objectives. Be clear, concise. What are your expectations for your career and ask what their expectations are of you. Ask questions: Am I on the right path to that next promotion? What do I need to improve or what do I need to continue to do?
- Continuously Re-Evaluate: Give yourself time-goals to meet your expectations. Evaluate: Have you met them? If not, what are your next steps?
- Be Honest: With yourself and with your manager. Can my goals be met? Make a reasonable and informed decision that benefits you and in the long run will benefit the company.
Effective communication provides no guarantees, but it will set you up to take you on any career journey you may want to go on.
The views expressed by ASK guest bloggers are those of the authors and do no reflect those of Stony Brook University or the Stony Brook Alumni Association.
Making educated career decisions can be difficult at any stage of career development. The ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) Blog is intended for Stony Brook University students and alumni to learn career knowledge and get advice from experienced alumni, working in various career fields, about lessons learned from their career experiences.