“India is the only country where people first become engineers and then think about what they want to become.”

The educational system in India has received its fair share of criticism and its focus on following the herd mentality is now being questioned. Its impact on career planning leaves us with more questions than answers

Here are a few ways to ensure that you build a successful career early on in your professional life.

#1: Don’t follow the herd mentality

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius.

If there’s one single career advice you should take to your heart, it’s not to fall into the trap of doing what everyone else is doing; unless, that’s what you really want to do.

Spend some time and figure out what you really want to do. Then work towards that goal.

#2: You don’t always need a higher education to pursue your dream job

You decided to study engineering because your parents wanted you to. You became a programmer in an IT services company even though you studied civil engineering.

You didn’t like your job, so you decided to go for an MBA. You finally ended up as an area sales manager in a reputed FMCG company.

What if you don’t like this job again? You’ll most likely keep jumping jobs until you find something to finally settle down with.

Here’s a quick fix; save your valuable time and money by interning at smaller companies to figure out what do you actually like. If you already know what you want to do, start small by applying to start-ups.

#3: Step out of your comfort zone

To build a career early on, step out of your comfort zone.

When you step out of your comfort zone, you learn many new experiences, in addition to increasing your network and broadening the scope. They will help you build a strong career path over time.

#4: You’ll make mistakes and that’s OK

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

If you make a mistake, be bold and take responsibility for your actions. Most companies will be OK with you making mistakes as long as you learn from them.

#5: Think long term

Just as in the case of investing money, career planning should be done with both short term and long term goals in mind.

Early in your career, set the foundations for your long term career path. The earlier you start on a career path, higher the chances of establishing yourself as an authority figure in your niche.

#6: Your early focus should never be money

It’s fine to switch a job if you are looking to earn more money. But that should never be a priority early on in your career.

#7: Don’t be afraid to quit

We don’t work for the same company for the rest of our lives anymore. If you feel that quitting will help your long term career, do it.

It might be a hard sell to your manager. But sometimes, you have to take decisions for your long term interests.

#8: Keep upgrading your skill-set

Reinvest in yourself. That’s the easiest way to ensure that your skills are up-to-date. All the more reason for your employer to offer you a higher salary package every year.

#9: Reverse engineer your ideal job profile

See a job that you’ll absolutely love to do, everyday?

Look through many such job listings and figure out the common requirements. Reverse engineer your ideal job profile to help you figure out the skills you need and the path you need to take.

#10: Keep an eye on job trends

If you are someone who can adapt to any job, then you need to track job trends. See which areas, based on your skill-sets and field of interest, are trending and work towards a career in that particular profile.

Jobs which are trending ensure that there will be ample opportunities to choose from.