What Kinds of Risks You Should Take Early in Your Career

To paraphrase the old adage: The greater the risk, the bigger the reward. When it comes to the early stages of your career, there is a lot to be said for keeping your head down and playing it safe. However, the early years on the job are a time when you can – and often should – take a few risks. Here are three risks worth taking as you start your career.

Negotiate A Job Offer

If you start off your first job making less money than you are worth, you’ll always fall behind your peers. Author Linda Babcock, in her book Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, points out that executives who negotiated their first salaries out of college stood to make over $500,000 more over their working lives than those who did not.


Even if you are completely thrilled just to get a job offer, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by leaving money on the table. Negotiate. The worst that can happen is you don’t get what you ask for. However, odds are high that you’ll get something out of the negotiation and the learning experience will help you build confidence for your next negotiation as your career grows.

Speak Up When You See A Better Way To Do Things

Companies and teams can get caught up in doing things the same way for years. Technology and processes evolve, and in order to remain competitive people must evolve, as well. If you find yourself working with outdated or redundant processes, speak up.


Saying, “I know a better way,” can be risky. Not only could your ideas be shot down, but you could be labeled a know-it-all.  The key to taking this risk in the safest way possible is to work on your delivery. Don’t put your boss on defense by saying, “you’re doing this wrong.” Instead, frame your idea as a solution that could save people time, increase output, save money, etc. If you can show why your solution is viable, you’ll increase the odds of a warmer reception. Even if your idea is rejected, your boss will notice that you are attempting to make valuable contributions to the team and the company.


“First impressions are everything, “seek to understand” why things are done the way they are, and give yourself at least 30 days on the job before you really start to articulate something that seems obvious to you so it is well received and impact a huge change which will grow your credibility.” Says Caitlin O’Malley

Step Up When No One Else Wants To

There are certain types of projects or tasks that nobody wants to do. They may involve a tough client. They may involve long hours. Tight budgets. Or they may be destined to fail from the beginning. When no one else wants to do this work, make an impression by stepping up and volunteering to take on the responsibility.


If your boss thinks you don’t have enough experience, that’s ok. You’ve made your impression by showing you’re willing to step up and pitch in. If your boss does trust you with the responsibility, you have a chance to shine. Just make sure to do your best work, speak up if you hit a snag, and keep your manager in the loop at all times.


If you are a recent college graduate, or if you are about to graduate soon and want to get a head start on your career, the recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions are here to help.  We will partner with you to match you with positions that align with your goals. Contact us to learn more about our commitment to your success.