Learn How to Succeed in Your First Job After College
If you are one of the fortunate college grad who has landed a good job, your attention will soon turn to launching your career in a successful way by excelling in your first position.
Your attitude and work ethic will determine to a large degree whether your work experience is a positive one and whether it provides a platform for a viable career.
Some of these tips may seem like common sense, while others will be new to you. Find ways to integrate them into your workdays over time to increase your chances for job success.
Learn Your Boss's Preferences and Expectations
Listen carefully to the directions that your boss offers and also ask other trusted colleagues for suggestions on ways to measure up to your supervisor's expectations.
Arrive Earlier And/or Stay Later Than Your Supervisor
Prove you are ready to work hard. Send emails (about meaningful work issues) early and/or late in the day to show that you are not only present but productive.
Provide Your Boss With Frequent Updates
Give a report periodically on the status of your projects so it is clear that you are making a solid contribution. Ask for help when you are stuck but don't be overly needy and try to figure out as much as you can on your own.
Solicit Feedback Periodically
Make a good effort to respond positively to constructive criticism but don't expect the frequency of feedback to match that of your teachers, coaches, parents, and professors. Make sure you're keeping track of your work accomplishments and find out what your boss considers other valuable accomplishments.
Do Not Miss Work Time
Do your best to not miss any work time unless it is absolutely essential and then work from home if possible or put in extra hours to catch up when you return. You have been hired as part of a team, and being there to complete your work goals helps others achieve theirs.
Approach Tasks With Enthusiasm
Take on each task with an enthusiastic attitude and attention to detail, no matter how mundane (or seemingly beneath you) the work seems. You will be measured by your ability to carry out your initial role in a positive and effective manner. Your middle name should be "can do" and your attitude should reflect this approach with a smile.
Avoid Checking Your Cell Phone
Avoid checking both your phone and social media outlets while at work. If compelled to do so, try to keep it at a minimum and do so in privacy or on your break time. Since your employer is paying you to do work, respect that and check your personal calls and texts on your own time.
Review Your Social Media Imprint
Look at all of your online social media profiles and make sure any personal information visible to the public reflects a professional image.
Establish a Complete Linkedin Profile
Join relevant professional groups on LinkedIn and add as many contacts as possible. Ask for recommendations from colleagues, clients and other professional contacts over time. This set of credentials will serve you well when you apply for your next job.
Meet as Many Co-workers as Possible
Take the initiative to earn about the role your co-workers play and the work done by their department. By scouting interesting departments, you will be in a position to make internal moves should the need or opportunity arises over time. You can also offer to help others out during their crunch time with projects, but only after consulting with your supervisor and making sure there isn't anything else she would prefer that you were doing.
Seek Out Potential Mentors
Look for more experienced colleagues who you feel a connection with and who can coach you towards success. It can be useful to have a mentor with just a couple of years more experience and well as a more senior colleague.
Affiliate With Positive People
Avoid the office complainers and slackers at all costs. Don't gripe or complain to co-workers since you never know who will quote you or cast you in a negative light.
Be a Team Player and Treat Others Respectfully
Give credit to others where due but make sure your supervisor is well aware of your contributions in your updates in a factual, matter-of-fact tone.
Devise a Professional Development Plan
Come up with clear goals and objectives regarding what you will learn and the skills you will acquire. Consult managers, the Human Resources department, and professionals in your field and find out what certifications, coursework and/or degrees are advisable for you to advance your career.
Continue to Build Out Your Skills
Put your professional plan into action, list out new skills you'd like to learn over the next year, then follow through.
Join National And Regional Professional Groups
Locate groups for your field and attend meetings and training sessions. Volunteering for committees is a great way to make contacts and raise your visibility professionally.
Mentor Other Less Fortunate Friends
Offer assistance to those friends who haven't yet found work. They may be in a position to help you out in the future.
Consider Volunteering Locally
The contacts you make will view you in a positive way as someone who cares about the things they value. This is also a great addition to your resume.
Keep In Touch
Stay in touch with all of those people who helped pave your way to this first job. These people will feel more invested in you if they can follow along as your career develops.
If you feel as though the job isn't working out, even though you have done all the right things, remember that you don't have to stay at your first job forever. Note the skills and experience you've acquired, update your resume, and work on leveraging your first job into the next step in your career.