Career Development – Tips for Succeeding in Your First Real-World Job

Today we have a very timely post for those who have just left college. It comes to us from Pepper Givens. Pepper is a freelance writer whose foremost passion is writing for her blog about education. While her primary writing focus is trends in higher ed, Pepper also enjoys writing about personal finance, parenting, sustainable living, small business strategies, and more. She can be reached for questions or comments at pepper.givens@gmail.com

Tips for Succeeding in Your First Real-World Job

So you’ve finally done it. The names have been called, the tassel has been moved and the degree is now in a nice frame on the wall—you’ve graduated college! For many, the path until this point has been a busy, stressful one muddled with successes and failures along the way. However, what so many recent grads don’t realize is this is only the beginning. Once the excitement and celebration passes, reality seeps in and the obligatory immersion into the real world begins.

For the not-so-lucky grads, a job may not be waiting, but for those that have already landed that full-time gig, it’s important to properly prepare oneself for what awaits. So, as you gear up for the new job, consider some of the tips listed below. They are sure to help make your transition from student to professional a bit smoother and more seamless.

Have Realistic Expectations and Demands

As you start your new job, try to remember that you are the new kid on the block. I know this may sound obvious and almost pointless to state, but often times, many grads come in and expect the world to be handed to them. They feel entitled to perks and benefits they simply haven’t earned yet. This is not to say they won’t, they just need to give it some time and allow themselves the opportunity to grow into their role. Also, don’t get offended being asked to do menial tasks you feel are below you. Granted, your superiors shouldn’t be asking you to do anything that is outside of the realm of your direct position, but if it is generally related to your job, do it and do it with a smile. Odds are every supervisor, manager and other superior you will encounter had to go through the same thing when they were starting out too, so just think of it as paying your dues—I promise it will get better.

Network

Many people think this is an activity best suited for job seekers, however that is simply not the case. Sure, you landed the job you wanted, but what are you doing now that you’re in that position? Sure you’re on the payroll and doing enough to get by, but are you standing out? If you aren’t making the effort or taking the time to interact with your colleagues, odds are you aren’t. Now, I’m not saying you need to know EVERY coworker by name, but you should at least be familiar with faces. At most jobs, many employees stick to their department or their team, but this is a mistake as it greatly decreases their opportunities for advancement. The better known you are throughout the company, the more you will be remembered, especially when it becomes time for a promotion or raise. So, branch out of your bubble and mingle—it’s good for your future!

Keep Learning

Just like networking, learning doesn’t stop when you leave the classroom. In this difficult economy, it’s important to stay on top of your skills and industry—either through seminars, workshops, or just personal reading. Sometimes, even, your company will pay for whatever activity it is you are doing, as it is a form of professional development and should make you more valuable to them as an employee. Plus, if you’re like many new grads, you will be surprised by the wealth of free-time you suddenly have since your evenings are no longer consumed with class assignments or college obligations. So, rather than wasting your time away, spend it productively by investing in your professional future.

Overall, the main key to success is to keep an open mind and approach the opportunity with positivity. After all this is a new beginning and new beginnings are supposed to be fun!

Pepper Givens is a freelance writer whose foremost passion is writing for her blog about education. While her primary writing focus is trends in higher ed, Pepper also enjoys writing about personal finance, parenting, sustainable living, small business strategies, and more. She can be reached for questions or comments at pepper.givens@gmail.com

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