How To Get Career Advice from Senior Employees

Here's the deal: you're in a company where you think you could grow professionally. However, since you're relatively new to the place, you're still getting your balance and learning the ropes. What you badly need is some guidance and advice. Of course you could always scour the net to help you learn skills to equip you, but there's nothing like personal support from the veterans in the exact same company. Their experience would be priceless, knowing that if you could just gain their guidance, you'd find yourself with insider know-how that would enable you to breeze through your company's professional ladder in no time. Plus, you'd be able to avoid the same mistakes they made when they were rookies themselves. Now the question is, what would you do to gain this valuable advice?

Tip Number One: Make a good first impression. Veterans have usually established their own posse and they won't really notice you. Be careful; you may be in danger of being disregarded simply as that nameless "new guy." That's why you have to make a good first impression. If you get in good with the veterans, they may give you a tour around the building during your first few days; use this to your advantage. Once you are introduced to the veterans, make sure that, apart from appearing self-assured (forget that this is your first day at work), appear sincerely interested in them. Ask them a question--a safe one is how long they've been in the company. Another tip is to say their name again right before you part ways. This shows that you remember them and also helps you remember their name. The key here is to not let them chalk you off as just another new guy they won't waste their time with. Don't let them forget you too easily.

Tip Number Two: Be visible. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but relationship experts have noted that this may be true for sweethearts, but certainly not for professional relationships. The rule of thumb at work is, the more you're seen, the more you're somehow trusted, barring any unfortunate events, of course. Attend company functions, interact with your co-workers, have lunch at the company cafeteria, take that coffee break and participate in a ten-minute chat with the other people at the water cooler. Just don't be a hermit at work. The key here is to act like you're already at home with the company, and the veterans would likely treat you as one of them. That would make it easier for you to gain their friendship.

Tip Number Three: Ask the right questions. Asking questions is easy; asking the right ones takes more effort and careful study. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings, with the way things work around the workplace. From there, you would be able to ask intelligent, more refined questions that would actually impress the veterans. Avoid asking "duh" questions that would, again, have you scratched off as the "new guy who doesn't know anything." Also, learn to speak their lingo, and observe what terms or analogies they tend to use during conversations and try to adopt them.

Tip Number Four: Never act like you're better than them. It doesn't matter that you're a Harvard graduate; the reality is that the senior employees are more experienced than you are, plus they are way over the corporate ladder than you. They deserve your respect, and so sincerely offer it to them. The key here is to be capable at work, but be humble to your superiors. They'd be impressed at this and would grow to like and trust you more.

Tip Number Five: Ask for career advice. We've come to what we need to know in the first place. What's with the first four tips? That's to gain the senior employees' trust and respect. Remember, the best advice comes from a person situated higher than you professionally, and who thinks you've got potential, but won't be a threat to his career. Once you've gained that person's trust, feel free to ask questions that you think would help you gain ground professionally. If that person is even sufficiently high in the corporate ladder, expect to be recommended for promotions by him.

Remember: the right attitude, plus being a true professional at work, goes a long way to your advantage!


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