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February 2014 Articles:

Alumni Advantage is a newsletter for current students written by members of the National Professional Advisory Board and their colleagues. It provides insider advice, insight and inspiration so that when our graduates enter the real world, they are ready to rock it.

Four Steps to Land Your First Job Promotion
by Vinny Squillace
Vinny Squillace

Vinny Squillace

You've finally been accepted into the job of your dreams and want to rise through the ranks as fast as possible. How do you do it?

Follow these steps:

1. Lose the expectations

Getting your first job is life-CHANGING.

For the first time, you'll be responsible for a chunk of a full-time business that depends on you 40+ hours a week to help take over the world.

But before you set any expectations about what the next year will be like, don't.

Rather than that, remain open to any and all circumstances. Become a "Yes-man (or -woman)" instead of asking how it will benefit you.

Learn something from everyone.

Listen more than you speak.

2. Find a mentor

Some companies offer structured mentorship programs. If this exists, take advantage of it. For other companies, seek out a person who can give you a new perspective (ideally, someone from a different department) and ask if they'll get coffee with you a couple of times a month.

They will be flattered you asked, and you will gain invaluable knowledge on how to move up.

3. Answer unasked questions

Help your team by adding value to conversations. You can do this in many ways, but start by listening for questions and volunteering to help answer them.

Key things to listen for:

  • "I wish I knew…"
  • "Can someone find out…"
  • "Does anyone have time to…"

Even more important than being reactive is being proactive about answering the unasked questions.

  • Create solutions to known everyday issues and present them to your manager often.
  • Be entrepreneurial and present thinking/ideas that advance the work or the process.

4. Think differently

Find ways to think differently about every aspect of your job. You have an opportunity as a junior-level employee to see things objectively – so harness that.

Use it to uncover the missing links between things and bridge connections in ideas that others haven't found. Show your unique perspective in every piece of work that you create.

Above all, don't forget to inject optimism, even in the most stressful times. One of my favorite quotes is:

"The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven." – John Milton

That means even in the worst of times, you can choose whether to accept your fate or choose to look on the bright side. I choose the latter.

Vinny Squillace could be described as a forever-curious, passionate, optimistic student of the world. With a degree in Political Science and Psychology in 2011, he trekked over to New York City to make a name for himself in Advertising. Since he moved there, he has risen from an intern to associate account executive to creating and leading the growth of a department and now works as a Director of Marketing at Mr Youth, now MRY, a leading creative and technology agency. On the side, he is an aspiring photographer and marathoner who hopes one day to solve all global issues.