10 Essential Strategies To Succeed In Your First Job
Congratulations, graduate! After the exhausting and stressful process of finishing school, searching for and landing your first “real job,” you are now about to launch your career. The transition from school to work is one of life’s biggest. You are about to enter a whole new world—one that looks and feels very different. At school, you were the customer. You paid the school to deliver you a service–your education. At work, you are the service provider—your company pays you to deliver a service. At school, you had control over your time and schedule. At work, that control largely switches to your employer. At school you had the ability to determine the level of effort and quality of your schoolwork. At work, your employer sets out those parameters.
And finally, at school, you were furnished with rubrics for success—professors provided syllabi that outlined what you needed to do to achieve. At work, the rubric for success is often vague, unexpressed and hard to pin down. Learning what it takes to succeed at your new company and in your new role is vital. Embrace the following strategies to accelerate your success.
1. Accept Your Newbie Status. Embrace being new and the work that comes with it. Young people entering the workforce often get a bad rap for being “entitled” and “impatient.” Don’t succumb to this stereotype. Don’t resist the menial tasks. Nobody is going to trust you with a complex task until they see you perform well with a simple one. It’s a test you need to pass. You will be able to show off your talents later, after you prove your ability to deliver.
2. Manage Up. Your boss has enormous influence over your ability to succeed, thrive, and advance in your company . Establishing a strong, productive working relationship with her is the single most effective way to accelerate your success in any organization. Your new boss can be your biggest obstacle, or your biggest advocate. Get to know what your boss values and expects from you. Then, make those your priorities, and do the job your boss expects. Similarly, figure out their communication preferences and their work style. Do they love unexpected ad hoc conversations, or do they prefer an email with ample time to respond? Are they slower and more methodical in their processes, or do they prefer fast action? If you are not sure what your boss wants from you, go have a conversation to learn about their preferences, priorities and pet peeves.
3. Display A Positive Attitude. Attitude is everything. Showing up at work every day with a positive attitude is probably one of the greatest things you can do to start your career off right. All other things being equal, people prefer to work with someone who is upbeat, supportive, enthusiastic and ready to learn. Nothing will derail your career faster than getting labeled as a complainer who is negative, resistant, cynical and unwilling. “Can-Do” is your new middle name.
4. Adopt A Learning Mindset. Employers don’t expect you to know everything about your industry or company; however, they do expect you to be a self-starter who is eager to learn. Take the time to learn the what, why, and how of projects and processes. Ask questions, but also show some initiative through your own research. Admit to, correct and learn from any mistakes you make along the way. Reach out when you’re stuck but avoid being seen as too needy. After all, you were hired because your employer believes you have the brains to figure things out.
5. Establish A Strong Work Ethic. Work ethic refers to how one approaches their work. A strong work ethic shows that you take your job and the organization’s priorities seriously. It’s about quality and commitment. This means being professional and punctual in your interactions, delivering quality products on time, paying attention in meetings (or at least pretending to), and accepting assignments with a positive mindset. Be consistent in your work and behavior. A trustworthy employee committed to quality is an employee worth keeping and promoting.
6. Respect Culture. Organizational culture is a powerful force that dictates how people in organizations operate. Simply put, culture is “the way we do things here.” Some organizations have wonderful cultures, and some don’t. You will soon know whether the culture is a good fit for you or not. Please know that you, as a single employee, cannot change the culture. Organizational culture change takes a long time and has to come from the top. So, unless your first job is the CEO, you are going to have to figure out how you can be successful within the existing culture.
7. Manage Your Career. No one should or will care more about your career than you do. You must be the CEO of your own career. This means taking responsibility for your own career pathing. Don’t expect your organization or new boss to map out your career; not all organizations or managers have the capacity or capability to proactively provide this support.
8. Build Your Network. Part of succeeding in your career is not what you know or who you know, but who knows you. Make a point early on to start building a professional network. Introduce yourself to your co-workers and build as many relationships as possible throughout your organization, not just in your department. Learn about others’ roles and how they fit into the company structure. Find and attend networking opportunities both inside and outside of your organization. Connect with those in your field. Building a network will help you advance within the company, land your next gig, and meet potential new clients, customers and collaborators.
9. Create A Professional Persona. Whether we like it or not, human beings place a great deal of importance on appearances—both in person and virtually. Your physical and virtual appearance must say that you respect yourself, your job and your organization. Look around your organization and industry and emulate the dress style of those who are successful. Your virtual appearance matters as well. Establish a polished looking LinkedIn profile. Clean up your online social media images and postings. The old adage “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is still relevant. Looking the part helps other see you in that part.
10. Go The Extra Mile. The reality of the work place is that employers notice, appreciate and promote those who work harder than the person next to them. While everyone has to figure out their own work-life balance, occasionally be willing to stay late or come in early. Offer to help out and get involved in extra projects whenever you can. Your supervisor and colleagues will notice and appreciate your dedication and commitment. You will quickly set yourself apart as someone who is a “go-getter.” An extra couple of hours here and there won’t destroy your personal life and will pay off in the long run.
You’ve already succeeded in landing an awesome position after graduation. Take these career tips and launch your career with gusto!
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Why the Best Internal Candidate Might Be from an Unlikely Part of the Company Nearly a decade since Gallup released its bible, Strengths-Based Leadership, which..
Tips for Minimizing Workplace Negativity To Deal with Negativity in the Workplace, Use These 9 Tips Nothing affects employee morale more insidiously than persistent workplace..
You Were Promoted To A Leadership Role But You Feel Unprepared - Don't Panic You’ve been at the job for years. As much as you..
This Is the No. 1 Reason Why People Fail at Switching Jobs (and What to Do About It) There's a reason changing careers is so..
Why a Coffee Shop Will Probably Be Your Workspace Within 10 Years As the gig economy grows, there are both social and scientific reasons why..
Didn't Get Your Dream Job? This 1 Technique Could Get You a Second Chance Every job seeker experiences this at least once, if not several..
The Best Way to Set New Employees Up for Success Create an onboarding program that's both meaningful and memorable Congratulations; you've just hired a terrific..
Do This In Your First Hour, Day, Week, And Month Of Your New Job Getting settled into your new job is the ultimate act of..
11 Expert Tips To Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Ever Could eating cake for breakfast and never listening to your voicemail help you get..
7 Ways Modest Leadership Increases Team Success When we imagine the traits of successful leaders, whether they are managers, high level executives, CEO's or owners..
Grateful Workplaces and Engaged Employees All leaders need to ask themselves why happy and engaged employees are worth their weight in gold. If you’re a..
How to Set Your Career Goals for 2018 and Achieve Them Each New Year offers the opportunity for a fresh start—and that includes your career...
Managing employee stress during the festive period More than half of employees feel stressed in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with most calling for..
What's HR going to be in 2022? A Study sheds some light... A recent study shows us a glimpse of what HR might look like..
How to Avoid the No. 1 Reason People Leave Their Jobs William James, the father of psychology, stated that the most fundamental psychological need is..
Will You Be Leading an HR Function in 2024? Here are five things to look at to examine and determine if you’ve got what it..
Importance of Effective Employee Appraisals The performance appraisal may be one of the few times during the year where an employee and the reviewer, typically..
What Is Your Impact? We keep throwing this word around called "impact." Do you know what your impact is and how would you define, discover,..
From Cubicle To Coffee Shop - How The Workplace As We Know It Is Changing In the past few years we have seen a major..
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner's 3 Best Pieces of Career Advice Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn's CEO, has had nothing short of a successful career. After graduating from..
Employees don't see link between pay and performance Employers gave themselves only mediocre ratings on pay programme effectiveness. Employees are struggling to see the link..
Why You Should Consider Working For A Small Company Eighty-four percent of small-business employees are happy in their current job, according to the 2017 Aflac..
HR's key role in enlightened office design HR magazine and Landid's roundtable on the workspace of tomorrow explored how HR can positively influence facilities management..
Workplaces still hamper productivity Noise, lack of privacy and space are some of the factors causing the greatest dissatisfaction among office workers Nearly half of..
Nine Things You Should and Shouldn't Do If You Lose Your Job Most of us wouldn’t think to associate the words "joblessness" and "fun," but..
Why Risk Is A Necessary Component To A Successful Career - And How To Balance Risk With Reward Taking at least some risk is necessary..
Top 10 Benefits Of A Workplace Wellness Program When Google opened up in the 90s it took a unique approach to employee satisfaction. In an..
It's all about potential: how to write a CV with no work experience Follow these tips to stand out among competing candidates – from research..
Being Too Busy for Friends Won’t Help Your Career Friendship matters. Everything we do to succeed in our careers is improved when we’re supported by..
The Best Ways to Reward Employees. Having an effective reward program in place can help solve many of your HR issues. Every company needs a..
Burnout at Work Isn’t Just About Exhaustion. It’s Also About Loneliness More and more people are feeling tired and lonely at work. In analyzing the..
People Don’t Take HR Seriously; Here’s Why That’s Dangerous Legacy beliefs like being the bad guy and a lack of strategic vision isolates HR, and..
Think Strategically About Your Career Development In a world where the average employee sends and receives 122 emails per day and attends an average of..
Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion Leaders have long recognized that a diverse workforce of women, people of color, and LGBT individuals confers a competitive edge..
How To Advance Your Career In A Crappy Entry-Level Job Yes, you can still bring yourself one step closer to snagging that dream job even..
Interviews are generally regarded as the primary decision-making event in any recruitment process. Regardless of your academic credentials or career thus far, it is crucial..
What causes burnout and how it can affect both the employees and the organisation How HR Can Help Prevent Employee Burnout An engaged workforce. It's..
Studies have shown that structured interviewing is more than twice as reliable a predictor of future employee performance than unstructured interviewing. That is why most..
Cyprus unemployment has been steadily increasing monthly since 2008 and is getting closer to double digits (January 2012 Eurostat figure – 9.6%). However there are..