Starting Your First Job? 5 Tips for Success

Congrats, Grad! You finished finals, made it through the graduation ceremony (hopefully without falling on your face while receiving your diploma), and you’re ready to start your first job. Now what? The advice from Career Services tends to stop once you accept an offer, and many new grads find themselves lost in their first position.

Here are a few tips to help ensure a smooth transition from college life into being a success at your first job:

1. Make mistakes – and take responsibility for them.
Mistakes are going to happen; they’re part of any learning curve. The most important things you can do when you make a mistake are (a) figure out why it happened, (b) learn from it, and (c) take responsibility for it. It’s going to feel awful when it happens, but the best thing you can do is keep your head up and show your boss that you’re ready to fix it and move on to new challenges.

2. Know that your opinion matters.
The company hired you because they believe you can contribute to their bottom line in some meaningful way, and they want to see you do it. If you have something meaningful to contribute, speak up! It shows initiative, and will leave a positive impression of your abilities with your coworkers. Note the word “meaningful”, though – make sure you’ve done your research and you’re contributing something that will benefit the team, not just speaking to hear yourself talk!

3. Ask questions.
You should spend the first couple weeks in your new position trying to learn everything you can about your role and the company. Do your research and ask relevant, smart questions that will help you better grasp your position and understand the processes and procedures of your department. Your supervisors and coworkers will have a wealth of knowledge, but they won’t be able to share unless you ask!

4. Understand that recognition won’t come easy.
It’s tough to be the low man (or woman) on the totem pole, as we’re often overlooked because of age or experience. It’s so easy to get frustrated by this, especially if you’re putting in the hours and producing strong results. As Millennials, we’re used to instant gratification, but you can’t expect a grand gesture of recognition like a pay raise or a promotion each time you contribute a good idea. Learn to appreciate the simple pat on the back, and the grander gestures will come with time.

5. Don’t be afraid to try something new.
We all need to pay our bills, but there’s no reason to stay in a position that isn’t right for you. Millennials are often tagged as job-hoppers, which lingers with recruiters as a negative trait. Don’t let that deter you – we do it because we know the value of finding a job that’s the right fit! The longer you wait, the harder it will be, so keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to make a change if it doesn’t feel right.

Starting a new position will always be tough. But if you have the right attitude, a desire to learn, and keep an open mind, you should be settled in no time.


About the Author
Danielle Setola is a Human Resources professional with heavy recruiting experience and a strong interest in the interaction between Psychology and the workplace.

Career, Hiring, job