Author: Philip Mbwaya, ALUSB Marketing Coordinator

Embarking on your career for the first time can be quite daunting as a young professional. Throughout your career journey, you will experience pitfalls and bumps along the way.

Last week, we gave you tips on how to stand out as a young professional. This week, we will highlight things you should avoid in the beginning stages of your career!

Here are five pitfalls you should avoid as a young professional:

1. Overconfidence in your academic certificates
Although academic knowledge is a great asset, it should not hinder your appetite to learn!

“Just because you have the right degree for the position, does not give you the entitlement to the role.” – Diana Gombe ‘21, HR Business Partner, Africa Field Division

Employers are on the lookout for curious young professionals with a learning mindset.

2. Getting comfortable with average performance
Most entry-level professionals often push themselves to deliver maximum value in the initial stages of their careers. However, with time, people tend to get comfortable in not exceeding expectations.

“As an employee, going over and above what is expected is what distinguishes you.” Desiree Afor, Head, Total Rewards and Mobility – Mastercard Foundation

Tip: You should always seek to go out of your comfort zone and exceed expectations in your role in order to stand out from the crowd. If possible, seek more duties beyond your role.

3. Poor communication
As a young professional, you might be tempted to stay in the background and not interfere with the usual on-goings of your organisation. But only by clearly expressing your interest in a particular role or project can you come top of mind when the opportunity arises!

“The managers that you work with should know your areas of strength and interest.” – Desiree Afor ’20, Head of Total Rewards and Mobility, Mastercard Foundation

Tip: Building a transparent relationship between yourself and your manager will create room for communication and growth in your career journey.

4. Lack of confidence
Don’t sell yourself short! Undervaluing your ability to perform in a role can translate negatively into your actual performance.

“Employers often identify potential through your actions and not necessarily through your words.” Diana Gombe ‘21, HR Business Partner, Africa Field Division

Tip: The best way to boost your confidence in your abilities is by continuous practise and asking questions when you are unsure of something.

5. Conformity
Functional structures and systems are set up in an organisation for a reason, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot change! When entering a workplace; you have the option of conforming to the set systems and structures of looking for ways to improve them.

“I often look for people who question how things are done and how they can be improved.” – Desiree Afor, Head, Total Rewards and Mobility, Mastercard Foundation

Tip: Always look for ways structures can be improved.

The Master of Management programme is designed to bridge the gap between employer needs and the skills young professionals and recent graduates have. Are you seeking to accelerate your career and develop your leadership and business skills?

Start your application today at: https://bit.ly/MMAPPLY21 and start your career acceleration journey!