Building a Career in New York City

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New York City is a place where dreams can come true, but it’s also a harsh, competitive place that crushes dreams. If you want your aspirations to fall in the former category, then you need to be smart about how you build your career in New York City. Here’s how to take advantage of all that New York has to offer, while combating the pressure and outmaneuvering the competition.

Build your professional network

Great careers are not built alone. To get ahead, especially in a competitive place like New York, you’ll need help. That’s why you should network.

Networking doesn’t come naturally to all of us, but it doesn’t have to be scary. Loosen up and don’t worry so much about what others can do for you right now; that will just make you seem fake and too transactional, anyway. Instead, look to make authentic connections with people who may someday be able to help you out (without thinking too specifically about what you might want from them — or, at least, not letting on).

It may be helpful to seek out mentors. People who have been where you are and have achieved what you hope to achieve are great sources of advice. And pay it forward by becoming a mentor to someone else; the experience can be immensely rewarding both personally and professionally.

New York is a big city in terms of population, but it’s a relatively small place (geographically speaking) with a high concentration of successful and powerful people. Take advantage of this and get in the mix. Meet up with connections, and attend conferences and other events that make networking easier.

Great networking takes practice, but if you make meaningful connections with the right people, it will open doors for you in New York City and beyond.

Seek out career counseling

You’ll make a lot of big decisions and encounter a lot of stress over your professional career. It’s important to share your feelings about these things and seek insights and advice from others, but you’ll want to be careful — sometimes, the sensitive nature of the decisions that you are facing will make them inappropriate to bring to your mentors or others in your professional network. So what can you do?

You can seek career counseling in NYC, experts suggest. Professional support can help guide you to the right decisions. And consider traditional therapy, too, for your mental health — a strong mind and great mental health will leave you in a better position to succeed at work and elsewhere.

Work smarter and harder

Hard work builds careers. But here in New York, virtually everyone is working hard. New York City professionals are notorious for their long working hours, and that makes it very hard to simply “outhustle” your competition.

You should still work hard, of course, but you need to consider other ways to get ahead. Be smart about your work-life balance and avoid burnout. Sometimes, a well-timed vacation can be a better idea than extra overtime hours. Try to come up with strategies that make your own job easier. If you can write an Excel formula that saves you time, you can free up more of your time for networking and getting ahead — and you might just impress your boss and the company brass with your innovation.

New York is a competitive place. Trying to build a career in the city isn’t as simple or as straightforward as it is in many other areas. But if you succeed in New York, you’ll be among the best of the best. Go get ‘em!

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