Hoping to land a promotion or a new job that requires experience that you don’t have? Here’s how you can show you deserve the job — even if you haven’t put in the time.
If you’re the new kid on the block, moving your career forward will take time. You can’t magically acquire years of experience, and without a proven track record, coworkers and managers may be slow to trust you with more advanced responsibilities.
Although there are no shortcuts to advancing your career, there are ways to make the most of your time in the lower ranks.
Here are some ways to distinguish yourself as a valuable, experienced professional and inch closer to the position you really want. (Click here to tweet this list.)
Hone your skills
Specialized skills are becoming more and more important. About 69 percent of recruiters expect hiring to become more competitive in 2015 as the demand increases for a small pool of highly-skilled workers.
Understand what skills are needed for the position you want and gain them. Complete certifications and additional courses, attend workshops and seminars, or seek other training to learn what you need to know. A recent salary survey of health IT professionals by HealthITJobs.com found that employees with certifications typically make $10,000 or more than those without.
Find a niche and become an expert. While you may not be the most experienced employee, you may become the most experienced in a specialized area.
Although hiding behind email is tempting, face to face communication is still important in the office. Do your part to improve the team’s collaboration and productivity by actively communicating throughout the work day. Young professionals who communicate effectively are valuable assets and will stand out among their peers who rely on technology.
Listening is a big part of effective communication, and is often neglected. When speaking with your manager or co-workers, actively listen to what they’re saying. Paying attention to conversations sounds simple, but it’s easy to get distracted by your own thoughts. Get into the habit of repeating what others say for clarification and then ask questions. Not only will you engage in more interesting conversations, but you’ll also hold yourself accountable for active listening.
Be a team player
Don’t just communicate with your coworkers, but work with them as a team. Individual skills are important, but if you can’t support the rest of the team, specialized knowledge means little.
Although you may be new, don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts, getting involved in meetings, and jumping into projects. Sitting on the sidelines won’t get you noticed.
As a part of a team, you’ll have to work with different personalities and working styles. Get to know your coworkers and how they work best. Some people may be difficult to work with, but use your best effort to put your differences aside and work as a team. Adjust how you work and communicate to effectively accomplish tasks with different team members.
As a new team member, establish yourself as strong team player. Volunteer to take on extra responsibilities, help overburdened team members and work extra hours when you can.
Becoming the team’s go-to person will help you gain valuable experience, learn more about the company and sharpen your skills.
Become an expert
Know your business. Stay on top of current events, trends, changes, new technology and anything else that will impact your company or industry. Find the top websites and blogs for your industry and sign up for their newsletters… and read them.
Another way to keep on top of news is to set up Google Alerts. Pick a few industry keywords and Google will send you email notifications any time it finds new results on the topic. Learn everything you can and discuss topics with your coworkers. Become a fountain of information.
Also, don’t limit discussions to inside the office. Become a valuable resource online as well. Follow the big players and key influencers in your field on social media to gain insight and information, and then share articles and information with colleagues to strengthen relationships and establish yourself as an expert.
The old saying “attitude is everything” sounds cheesy, but attitude can be critical to your success.
Yet many young professionals are failing in this area — 33 percent of HR managers said that millennials have a bad attitude during the interview. If you do have a job, chances are you had a good attitude during the interview process. But attitude is just as important after you’ve been hired as it was before.
Accept challenges with a smile and always be ready and willing to help. When new opportunities do become available, managers are likely to think of friendly and cooperative employees when considering who to promote — not someone else with a negative attitude.
Tim Cannon is the vice president of product management and marketing at HealthITJobs.com, the largest free job search resource connecting busy health IT professionals with relevant opportunities in the health IT field with minimal effort. Connect with Tim and HealthITJobs.com on LinkedIn.