How to Succeed at Your First “Real” Job

IStock_000005750863XSmall[1] You’ve pulled all nighters studying for mid-terms and finals. You’ve labored over group projects and read dozens of textbooks. Now you’re finally about to graduate and enter the real world. Prepare for your new career by learning what it takes to successfully transition from student to full-time employee.

Arrive for work on time. It sounds simple enough, but punctuality can often be a challenge for younger workers. Set yourself apart by making it a priority to always arrive at least five minutes early. You’ll also score major points by sticking around a few minutes past quitting time each day. 

Come well-rested. Gone are the days where you can roll into class bleary-eyed and half-awake. Getting enough sleep ensures you’ll be alert and ready to contribute your full potential. That means going to bed early enough each night to get at least seven to eight hours of rest.

Dress professionally. Once you start your career, your wardrobe may require a little sprucing up. Remember, a good rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Take note of how leaders at your organization dress, and follow their example.

Limit your consumption of digital media. While texting and checking Facebook and Twitter are great ways to keep in touch with friends, those habits won’t help you make a good impression at a new job. While you’re at work, keep your focus on the task at hand. Resolve to only text, make personal calls, or check social networking sites during breaks or before and after work. 

Make sure you understand your role. It’s hard to succeed at something if you don’t know the purpose behind what you’re doing. Is the core of your job increasing sales, improving customer relations, or reducing expenditures? Find out why your company needs you and then focus on doing those tasks to the best of your ability. 

Be proactive about requesting additional assignments. Starting out at your new job, you may have periods where you don’t have much to do. Instead of being bored or just trying to look busy, seek out opportunities to help others and learn new things. Let co-workers or your supervisors know that you’re eager to pitch in and take on new challenges.

Be willing to serve others. When you offer your help, be prepared to give it – no matter the task. Don’t be offended if the boss asks you to do seemingly insignificant jobs like make copies or prepare coffee. Instead, consider it an opportunity to show others that you’re a team player.

Find a mentor. To learn the ropes, seek out an individual who excels within your company and ask them if they’d mind sharing a few pointers. They’ll most likely be eager to assist you – people are flattered to be asked for their advice. Co-workers who’ve been around awhile can help you get into the groove at a new job by teaching you the “unwritten rules” at your place of employment.

By preparing yourself for success, you’ll make a great first impression at your new job. Your supervisors will be wowed by your “can do” attitude and professionalism. You may even impress yourself with how much you can achieve when you put your mind to it. 

Comments

    1. JMM

      It seems to me that its not that people have to be told to be on time but that they have to be told to be early. People want to show up ON TIME but don’t take into account that clocks run at slightly different times…if the clock in their home, and the clock in their car and their cell phone and the clock at work are all just a few minutes off that can add up quickly to a noticeable daily tardiness.

      1. Jared Cole

        That’s a good point, JMM. While it may not work for every job or position, I always try to follow the unspoken “10 minute courtesy” rule of showing up 10 minutes early to get ready, center myself, socialize, and start work on time. Thanks for the comment!

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