It may be the weekend of the Kentucky Derby, but it is important to remember that when it comes to success in your career, it’s not about how fast you can get to the finish line. It’s about taking adequate time to build and grow as a professional. Millenial employees especially get a bad rep for craving instant gratification and expecting a raise, promotion and a corner office within their first few years of employment, or they consider the opportunity a dead end. It is important to make sure your career path has advancement opportunities, but remember to be patient and have reasonable expectations. Here are some tips to follow on building long-term career success!

Learn the ropes.

Learning doesn’t stop after you get your degree! After graduation, don’t fall into the trap of assuming the piece of paper you received and a walk across the stage means you know everything there is to know about a profession. Yes, graduation is a huge accomplishment, and you no doubt learned very crucial information that you can bring to improve a company, but remember that it doesn’t replace practical experience. If you have a know-it-all attitude, check it at the door, and be prepared to continue learning!

Pay your dues.

When starting out your career, it is sometimes necessary to pay your dues and complete some tasks you may not necessarily like. It’s important to maintain a humble attitude and demonstrate that you are willing to be a team player and do whatever it takes to help out your team. Of course, don’t let yourself get taken advantage of, but few things are more off-putting in the business world than new employees (or any employee for that matter) refusing to do something because “it isn’t in their job description.”

Make connections.

Networking is important well beyond the job search. Take the time even when you have a position to foster your connections. Get to know people in various areas of your company, or even across your industry. Never stop trying to build your network and learn from the professionals around you!

Soak up knowledge.

Take advantage of the early stages of your career to soak up as much knowledge as you can to build a sturdy foundation for a long and prosperous career. Be curious. Ask questions. Try to learn more about other areas of your business. This will help broaden your potential for more opportunities instead of pigeon-holing yourself for the future.

Remember that good things come to those who wait!  Always make sure the opportunities you are pursuing have growth potential, but make sure that your expectations are in line, and that you are prepared to put in the necessary time to grow professionally.