Some of you may be about to start a new job this fall, the first one. You passed the interview process, got a great opportunity or a job offer directly after achieving your internship: congratulations! You are probably highly motivated and maybe willing to climb the career ladder. It will be easier and faster if you avoid some starter mistakes and create good habits right from the start. I’ll give you the 10 tips I wish I had got before starting my first job.
#1 don’t neglect the impact of clothing
That’s the whole point of this blog! You won’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Clothing can help you to achieve your professional goals. At the beginning of your career, you may go for the classics, but express your personality can help you to grow the career ladder. Don’t be afraid to be you, while showing you are aware of the codes and respect them.
#2 show involvement but set your boundaries
Show commitment to your tasks but pay attention. If you get the feeling that you are doing a lot above your responsibilities, but that it is not noticed or appreciated, then something is going wrong. You have to make sure your boss notices your involvement or you have to rethink the way you are working. Work life is not always going to be fair. You have to figure out what you are ready to handle and where are your boundaries. And then, let people around you know.
#3 keep an eye on your health
As soon as you start spending 8 hours a day sitting at a desk, your health and energy is going to be your most valuable asset. You have to care about it. You need regular exercise to strengthen your muscles, your back and keep your body fit. You should regularly go to the dentist and make the check-ups that are necessary. Healthy people are proved to be more successful.
#4 acting instead of suffering
Speak with your boss, your colleagues or the human resources department about the issues you are facing in your daily business. Try to improve the situation before it is too late and you just want to leave. You have to be proactive if you want to succeed. Go to your superior with the problem, but with a solution too.
If you identify a need and take over a task that it not on your job description, make sure it is visible to your superiors. You should also take an advantage out of it. Maybe you learn something new, that will help you to find a new, better job or to get promoted. Avoid to do things if you know that you won’t get anything out of it. But take care, sometimes the benefit is long-term. You will not always get a reward right after each effort you made.
#5 build your network within the company
If there is one tip that everyone should consider, it is this one: look outside your team and your department and connect with people from other services. Try to understand their daily routine, their challenges, their struggles, what make them proud and what is the hard or boring part of their work. This understanding is going to be crucial if you want to get an internal promotion because people who know everyone and can communicate well with different kind of people are a great asset for a company. Try to understand the big picture and to give some sense to your daily tasks. It will help you to be motivated even for executing the most boring tasks or to accept some constraints coming from other departments.
#6 build your network outside work
It is important to have some connection outside the company where you are currently employed. People with a large network are an asset for each company. It helps you to disconnect from work and get feedback on some situation from people who work somewhere else. Very useful when you are going through tough times.
#7 be open for feedback, stay humble
Even if you are successful and achieve your goals, you should always keep in mind that you can learn new things from other people and that there is always something you can improve. You should be open for feedback. Feedback is also a great present for people who value it. Learn to give feedback the right way.
#8 accept that first job may not be your dream one
Entry level positions are not meant to be for a lifetime. You will do a lot of things that have nothing to do with the glamorous office life you imagined while studying. But you will also learn a lot. If you are willing to, you should not have to stay stuck that long in a job you hate.
#9 look for career advice
Even if your entourage may give you great advice, don’t be afraid to look for more. Just google your professional struggles or read some career sites on a regular basis.
#10 keep your career plan in mind
On the one side, you should set a career plan for yourself and rethink it on a regular basis, asking yourself if your current activities help you to reach your goals. On the other side, don’t be afraid to take risks if it feels right for you at some point. Do something you have never done before. Go the extra mile. Have fun in your working life!