first year on the job
Posted : March 10, 2008
Last Updated : March 5, 2014
Transitioning from college to a first job can be exciting yet daunting. As you leave your familiar routine of college life behind, you are probably eager about the possibilities that await you, yet you may be apprehensive about trying to adapt to a whole new environment. These emotions are common for recent grads. Just don't become too overwhelmed by these feelings because your first year on the job is crucial to future success. The following tips will help you stay focused and allow you to make a smooth transition into your first year of work.
Learn the culture. The culture is the unspoken beliefs, customs, and attitudes of a company or organization. To learn the culture, pay attention to your surroundings. Is the management style strict or easy-going? What is the company reward system like? What kinds of employees earn promotions? In order to thrive during your first year, observe how the successful people in the company spend their time and try to emulate them. Organizations want employees who fit and embrace the culture.
Listen more than you talk. In order to make a positive impression on management, don't come into the organization thinking that you already know everything. If you come into a new position and try to make big contributions before you learn about past actions, you will probably only embarrass yourself. Instead, come into your new position with a willingness to learn. This means mouth shut (except when asking questions) and ears open.
Seek feedback. Most organizations give employee reviews once a year. For new hires, they may give reviews at the three or six month mark. If you want to know how you are faring before your review, don't be afraid to ask your manager and peers to comment on your performance and provide suggestions for improvement. This shows your manager that you are eager to do your job well.
Volunteer for projects. Perform at the level of the job you want, not the job you have. As you delve into your first year on the job, you want to show management that you have a strong work ethic and that you take initiative. Prove this by volunteering for projects that are outside of your daily tasks. Not only will you show your employer that you are a hard worker, but you will gain experience along the way.
Make your boss look good. If you help your boss succeed, then you will succeed. Keep the communication lines open between you and your boss. Show him/her that you are supportive and helpful. Become an indispensable employee. If you make your boss look good, he/she will remember when it's time for promotions.
Avoid cliques. Be nice to everyone. Concentrate on performing your job well and try to avoid office politics.
Network. During your first year, meet as many people as you can and learn about their role within the company. These people will become helpful contacts as you continue your journey through the company.
Never stop learning. Just because you graduated from college doesn't mean you should stop learning. Take advantage of classes that the organization may offer to help you grow professionally and personally.
Don't expect too much too fast. Many recent grads want premium salaries and think they deserve to move up to managerial positions right away. Don't expect a raise or a promotion during the first year. You have to pay your dues like everyone else. Concentrate on working hard during your first year to show your boss that you deserve a raise or promotion.
Leaving college life behind and moving into the professional world takes patience and a willingness to learn and adapt. As a recent graduate and a new hire, make sure you understand what it takes to successfully enter a new organization.