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If you’ve recently graduated, you already know what comes next: the job search and starting your professional career. It’s time for you to officially enter into adulthood. During this transition, we know that you may be going through a variety of thoughts ranging from “Will my college degree actually help me with my career?” to “How do I properly budget my personal finances?” Yes, starting your professional career will be accompanied with excitement and a pinch of nervousness. That being said, we hope that the following tips will minimize your nerves and ease your transition into the workplace.
When you arrive to work, you will probably be given a tour around the office to familiarize yourself with the workplace. Your tour guide may introduce you to a couple of workers in your department, but the majority of the tour may just be a walk without many formal introductions. Therefore, after the tour is over, a great way to get your name out and meet more coworkers is to introduce yourself to workers around the office—not just those working in your department. Not only is this a friendly, social, and bubbly way to meet people that you may see on a daily basis, but it is also a great way to work on your interpersonal and communication skills. An easy way to introduce yourself is by saying something along the lines of “Hey guys! My name is __________ and I just started working in the office. I just wanted to introduce myself and express my excitement of starting work here!” Remember: your first impression to coworkers is key, so be excited and enthusiastic!
Your first couple of weeks in the office will definitely be a learning experience, and no one is expecting you to know everything right off the bat. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know how to do something or where something is located, it is important that you ask questions to coworkers. Remember that everyone in the office was in the same spot as you at some point and that they received help from other workers as well; everyone will be happy to help! However, you never want to ask the same question twice since that shows that you weren’t listening at first. After you get advice or help from someone in the office, you should always jot down that help on a notepad or document on your laptop. According to PC Mag, two of the best notetaking applications that work on most devices are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. However, something as simple as taking notes on a Microsoft Word Document will do the trick. Therefore, even if you forget what advice you were given, you know that you have it saved at your fingertips. Lastly, always thank the person that helped you!
Some of the most important qualities that you want to portray to your managers are that you are reliable and trustworthy with your work. Therefore, don’t take deadlines lightly—your managers gave you that deadline for a reason, so make sure you deliver that project on time. However, that deadline doesn’t mean that you just need to submit something by the date assigned; you should deliver the best work that you are proud of. A great way to stay on top of projects and deliverables is by making a calendar that maps out what you will be doing each day to ensure that your work is perfect and delivered on time.
You will quickly learn that on some days in the office there may not be much work ready for you. However, if you are assigned something to do, make sure you get the task done effectively and efficiently. Even if it is as small as copying something for your boss, such tasks highlight your dependability to your boss and that you are giving your 100%. Also, your first job will be accompanied by nerves and angst, so why not celebrate the small wins throughout the day!
Depending on what department you’re working for, you could find yourself sitting in many meetings with coworkers and managers. Being new in the workplace, you may think it is improper to speak up in these meetings since you don’t have the experience that other coworkers have. For some discussions and topics, you may be correct; however, don’t forget that your employer chose you! They believe that you are qualified enough to work for that company, and, therefore, your opinions are important, too. Furthermore, your managers and bosses may view certain topics in a different way than you do, so providing your opinion could open up a new viewpoint that wasn’t discussed before.
As cliché as it may sounds, everyone makes mistakes, and it’s inevitable that you will too. However, the true test comes after you make the mistake and how you respond to it. Small or big, any mistake should be taken seriously and should be addressed quickly. It’s best to take responsibility for any mistake that you make, swiftly figure out what you did incorrectly, and fix it. Further, especially early on, jotting down your mistakes will help you remember to not make the same mistake again, proving that you learned and grew from that mistake. Mistakes lead to learning and learning leads to growing as an individual!
The easiest way to lose the approval of your manager or boss is by getting distracted and off task. We understand that some workdays will be boring, but it’s advantageous to resist the urge of using your phone or surfing the web. Remember that your first days on the job are a test and your bosses care about what you don’t do as much as what you do. The more motivated you are, the more hardworking you look which will win you over the approval of coworkers and bosses.
Picture yourself at a traditional festival in a foreign country. You know that this festival requires you to understand certain songs, dances, and attributes about the culture. Would you want to go in without any knowledge of the culture? Probably not. The same follows for following company culture. On your first couple of days on the job, observe how your coworkers function on a daily basis: do they eat at their desks or in the cafeteria? Do they talk with one another or are they focused on their own work all of the time? Do people take breaks to eat snacks and talk or do they bring their own snacks from home? Although basic questions, understanding the company culture will ease your way into the work environment and can help build relationships with coworkers.
Of course, there are many other tips and tricks to help you navigate the start of your professional career. However, these 8 tips will definitely build a foundation for your growth within any type of work environment. Always remember that your employer chose you to work with them because they knew that you would be a perfect fit within their community and culture. So go into your first job with a smile and show them why you were the perfect fit!