By: Brooke Roberts
Navigating the transition into a new field or career can be hard! You might be thinking: Am I going to excel at this? Can I apply any of my existing skills? What challenges will I face?
I had those same thoughts when I started a new position as a Marketing & Administrative Intern. Up to date, I had only worked in sales and customer service so I was nervous to say the least. It was almost like being a server at a restaurant and then being asked by your manager to step in as a cook. Where do you even start?
Although I wasn’t actually stepping in as a cook, I was stepping into a role I lacked familiarity with. So I had to figure out how I was going to navigate this transition effectively, and with as much ease as possible. Switching fields can be stressful enough, and adding to that stress was something I wanted to avoid.
I decided that no matter what, I was going to be successful. I had to find ways to bring that success into fruition though.
The four tips below are what helped me acclimate to my new environment, and turn this new opportunity into a positive experience. Hopefully, they can help you in doing the same, and put you on a path of continued success.
4 Tips To Be Successful In Your New Field or Career
1. Don’t think you’re expected to be an expert.
If there is a topic you can’t provide much insight on or don’t know much about don’t fret. It can be easy to become discouraged by being “the new kid on the block.” It can also be discouraging when you don’t excel in an area as fast as you think you should BUT a positive attitude can make a world of difference.
It is important to know that mistakes can sometimes occur, but you have a choice on how you handle it. Be forthcoming about your mistakes, and offer whatever aid you can in fixing the issue. You shouldn’t allow it to hinder your confidence because at some point we all make mistakes.
Try this. Think of your mistakes as learning experiences, because you now know what you SHOULDN’T do.
2. Use your pre-existing skill set to the best of your abilities.
Anything you have to offer is better than nothing. Never be afraid to speak about your ideas because it could be the best one in the room. Use your pre-existing skills to the best of your abilities, and apply them where possible.
Playing up your soft skills can also help you in performing well, and making lasting impressions. Soft skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.
Here’s a list of some soft skills that are helpful in the workplace:
- Effective Skills in Communication
- Critical Thinking
- Positive Attitude
Explore what soft skills you’ve best cultivated, and use those to your advantage.
3. Ask questions. Study. Take notes.
Just like in school, to be successful in a new field you should ask questions, study, and take notes.
You can excel faster if you take the initiative to progress.
Here are a few tips:
- Follow up with questions on anything that is unclear to you. Don’t be hesitant to ask about subjects you’re not sure of. It will be more effective for you to ask if it’s not something you can figure out with a quick Google search. Miscommunication and misunderstanding can lead to unnecessary problems, so do your part and ask questions until you’ve gained clarity.
- Do personal research to supplement what you’re taught at work. Doing outside research can help you learn material about your new field faster, and give you more confidence in your role.
- Take notes, take notes, take notes. Thousand times over, just take notes. You will not be able to remember every detail of every meeting or conversation. Do yourself a favor and jot down notes to help in remembering what is important or useful.
4. Be prepared.
A quote that encompasses the importance of being prepared for me is “The way you practice is the way you play.”
With being in a new environment I had to find a way to manage my workflow successfully. I was already dealing with the worry of how I would perform, so I didn’t want to deal with the stress of missing deadlines or not staying on top of my schedule.
I struggled with this in the beginning. You have to find what method of organization works best for you. Whether that be adding a calendar to a wall in your home, using your phone’s calendar to keep you on track, or using a traditional planner. Google Calendar and my planner have been the most helpful for me.
Here’s the method I used:
- Set Google calendar reminders 15 minutes before your meetings so you’re aware that they are approaching.
- Update and go over your planner both in the morning and before you leave. In the morning look over what’s ahead for the day, and in the evening to get an idea of how to prepare for the next day of work.
You can apply similar guidelines to whatever method of organization you choose to adopt.
Your Next Steps
In implementing these four tips I was able to frame my transition into a positive experience and make helpful contributions to my team. I was able to get SNR Creative to reach 1,000 followers on Instagram, help SNR Sports Management reach their follower goal on Instagram, and aid in better integrating a workspace called Trello to manage projects.
You too can have accomplishments to speak on after a few months in your new career field, or whatever new endeavor you choose to take on. With these four tips, you are equipped with practical tools to help you succeed. Walk into this new chapter confidently! Good luck!
Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know if any of these tips have helped you!