Even after you leave school, you have to keep learning. Roddeya Robinson shares her top lessons-learned from five years in the corporate world.
Five years ago, I graduated from college and started my career as an Internal Auditor. Although I have been pretty fortunate in my career so far, navigating corporate America can sometimes be challenging. The journey never gets easier, but you will learn many lessons along the way. Here are the top five lessons I learned during my first five years at Fortune 500 companies.
Learn the Business.
I’m talking about more than just knowing the logo, products, and services the company offers. You should know the company’s business model, how they do sales, where they market themselves, and even who their competitors are. This may or may not be tied to your current job, but it will help you get noticed. Trust me— knowing these things can help you land a new role within or at another Fortune 500 company.
Manage Your Time Wisely.
From answering emails to meetings and work tasks, your workday is BUSY. Staying organized and being realistic with your time is crucial to your success at a Fortune 500. If you don’t have time to complete a task, be honest about it. Create and stick to a timeline to make sure everything that needs to get done gets done on time. If you start to feel overwhelmed, make a to-do list to tackle a big project a little at a time.
Own Your Decisions.
All of my jobs in Corporate America have required me to be self-directed. I manage my own time, my own work, and my own reports. Sometimes I even have to make hard decisions about business projects. For example, If I decide to audit a business unit in a new way, I have to present that decision to management with confidence. While they don’t always agree with my decisions, they often respect how I make my case and present it. So be confident in your work and office decisions.
Join a Group.
Since college, organizational involvement has always been one of my top priorities. In corporate America, you can easily carry this priority from college to career. Being involved is one of the best ways to network and develop your professional skills. You can join employee resource groups (ERGs), different company task forces or special event committees. As a co-chair for one of my company’s ERGs, I get to plan events, work on my public speaking, and attend leadership conferences. When performance review time comes around, you can use your involvement to showcase your many different talents and skills.
Don’t Be Afraid to NEGOTIATE.
As someone fresh out of college, negotiation can be hard as you are still gaining experience. But if you have great experience, education and certifications, take a stab a negotiating your salary. Negotiating can be intimidating, but you have to speak up for yourself. You have to find a balance between what you think you are worth to what you really are worth to a Fortune 500 company. During negotiation, don’t hesitate to bring up how valuable your expertise may be for the company or the fact that you have to move. If you can’t negotiate a starting salary, negotiate during your performance reviews.
Starting at a Fortune 500 company is an exciting career opportunity. Instead of learning the many lessons of Corporate America on your own, take my advice and get ready to move up the corporate ladder.
Roddeya works at a Fortune 500 company in Dallas, TX.
Connect with her on Instagram @TivityConsulting.