Industry Experts Reveal 5 Keys to Success In Your First Job was originally published on WayUp.
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for your whole life. In addition to weddings, having kids, and graduating, your first job is one of the biggest life milestones. With so much pressure on that first job, or “first grown-up job” as some people call it, there are a lot of things to keep in mind.
You want to impress your boss and co-workers, you want to learn and grow, you want to get along with everyone, and you want to put your best foot forward. With so much to consider it can be helpful to have a list of tips to keep handy for your very first day.
To find out what early career professionals can do to crush their first job, we hosted a Job Searching 101 event with 5 experts from top-quality organizations across the globe such as Jerome Warfield, Senior Recruiter, University Relations at Lumen Technology, Oscar Cid del Prado, Senior Consulting Campus Recruiter with RSM US, Jamilla Smith, Diversity Recruiter at Bloomberg, and Annie Roden, Lead Recruiter, University Relations & Talent Acquisition at Lumen. In our conversations, they highlighted tips for crushing your first job that include everything from how to dress for your big debut to setting goals.
Dress to Impress
College is now over and unfortunately, sweatpants and hoodies will no longer fly as your daily attire. Depending on the company you work for and the industry you’re a part of, the dress code may vary. The best things you can do is one, ask your hiring manager what the dress code is, and two, observe your fellow coworkers and try to wear something that is in a similar class.
What you wear and how you present yourself will shed light on how much you value your job, position at the company, and yourself. Coming in with messy hair, a stained shirt, or otherwise unpresentable makes people think you don’t really care about putting in the effort, even if you do. A safe choice is always a pair of chinos/dress/pants and a casual collared or button-down shirt for guys, and a dress, black pants, and a nice top for girls.
You’ve heard it time and time again – be yourself. This is a rule that needs to be followed right from the interview and going into the job. Yes, you want to present yourself professionally and as a serious candidate but that doesn’t mean you need to be a robot with no personality!
During the interview, if the timing is appropriate or your interviewer asks you, don’t be afraid to talk about yourself outside the scope of professional work. Who knows if you might even have something in common with the person you’re interviewing that might push your name to the top of the pile!
When you actually start your first job, it is important to carry the same attitude and personality you had into your work life. Most people can tell when someone isn’t being authentic and just saying what they think people want to hear. Don’t be a yes person, don’t try to suck up, and don’t be someone you’re not! You’re going to be working with these people every single day, so why wouldn’t you want to bring your true authentic self while also having fun and enjoying every day at the office?
Learn how to Converse Professionally
One thing that a lot of people fail to do when transitioning from college to the professional world is learning how to converse professionally. Chances are you’ve spent enough time around friends and family that you’ve developed a relaxed and more carefree style of dialect. While there is nothing wrong with that, you need to know how to switch it on and off when speaking with someone professionally.
That means no slang, doing away with calling people “dude” or “man,” developing an advanced vocabulary but not an excessive one, and working on your body language! For example, slouching, pacing, and fidgeting are all things that will make you seem less professional in a conversation.
Confidence is Key
Right from day one, you need to exude as much confidence as you can carry. First jobs can be scary given that they are new environments with work that might be a little unfamiliar. What you need to do when things are looking a little uncertain is remind yourself that there is a reason why you got the job you did! Your employer saw your potential and now you need to also.
If you aren’t confident your work may suffer, your manager or senior leader might not consider you for other opportunities, and you won’t feel satisfied with what you’re doing. Imposter syndrome isn’t rare, especially for first jobs, so if you’re ever not feeling confident in yourself it’s important to identify the reasons why and either reach out to your peers or mentor for advice and try to grow your skills!
Additionally, it is important not to get too overconfident. While it’s important to be sure of what you’re saying, you need to stay humble and portray a mentality that is willing to learn.
Set Goals for Yourself
Last but not least, one of the most important things you need to do in your first job is set goals for yourself. This is the beginning of your career! When you set goals for yourself over a 6-month, 1-year, 5-year, and 10-year timeframe you allow yourself to be challenged and motivated to grow.
Maybe you want to land a spot on that project you’ve been eyeing. Maybe you want to get to 6 figures by the time you turn 30. Or maybe you even want to become your boss’ boss! As you observe your goals over time, you will become better enabled to identify the necessary steps to accomplish them. With no goals, you won’t have any way to measure how well you’re doing. So if performance is important to you, objectives must be made!
A few ways to set objectives for yourself include making connections and asking people how they got to where they are. When you identify what people to do to get where they are you become better enabled to get there yourself.
Your first job is an incredibly exciting and momentous occasion. What you need to do going into that experience is take all the happiness and excitement from securing employment and using it as momentum to crush your job! Chances are other people have experienced the same hurdles and hesitations that you’re going through – like us! Another thing that might happen is you realize that a job is not right for you. And that’s ok! More often than not, your first job won’t be your last. So don’t be afraid to hold your wants and needs to a high degree!
Using the tips in this guide will ensure that you are making the best impression possible and doing all you can to grow yourself professionally and personally. So when that first job arrives, and it will, make sure you are prepared to do your very best!
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