With only one official year under my belt, I am still asking myself the same questions I had the day I graduated. Am I good enough? What am I worth as a professional? What do I have to offer?
I would be willing to bet that many of you are asking yourselves the same questions. Maybe you took a job that is less than what you had expected or wanted, and are now feeling unchallenged and underappreciated. Or maybe you feel ready to move ahead in your career, but are having a hard time finding the right fit for you.
How exactly do you overcome these feelings of intimidation and, sometimes, anxiety?
Here are some things that I have found to be extremely helpful in strengthening the beginning of my career:
• Evaluate yourself on a regular basis.
What do you do? Do you like it? Have your projects been successful? What are some ways that you can improve? What would you like to be working on? How can you incorporate that into your daily tasks?
Ask yourself an insane amount of questions and answer them truthfully. You’ll be surprised what you’ll learn about yourself.
• Make every moment of your job count.
Yes, this is so very obvious, but so very important. There are times when my workload is extremely light… or nonexistent. This is when I really dig deep into my skill set and find ways to improve how I work.
Another thing you can do is look into your company’s sales/marketing materials, press kits, and other documents and think of ways that you would update them. If you feel confident about your ideas, share them with your superiors (they’ll be surprised by your initiative).
• Do freelance work.
Besides looking great on a resume, freelancing is tons of fun and allows you to explore other talents that you don’t get to use in your full-time job.
Sometimes you’ll have to take several jobs with no compensation, so it’s important to find something that you enjoy doing or that you really care about.
Again, this looks good on a resume, and can also be a lot of fun and rewarding. Many organizations are looking for extra help in their public relations/communications efforts. If you feel passionate about an issue or organization, form relationships and offer to help whenever a need arises.
Doing these things will not only strengthen your professional skills and image, but it will teach you so much about yourself as an individual.
Have a few more tips that you’d like to share? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
About Paige Presley: With a public relations degree from Middle Tennessee State University and experience in both corporate and agency public relations, Paige now serves as a marketing assistant at Lightning 100, Nashville’s favorite independent radio station. She is also the Chapter Development Committee Chair for the PRSA New Pros group.When she’s not at work, Paige enjoys taking on various freelance projects and volunteer activities with organizations like the American Red Cross and NashvillePAW magazine.(This post can also be found here.)