The Truths About Your First Job Out of College (Part 2)

We started with Part 1 a bit go. Let’s continue our discussion with 5 more tips.

  1. You have to actually request time off and call in when you’re sick. Long gone are the days where you automatically get a break or when you can just quickly send an email to your professor tasking for make up assignments. Now you have to let your boss know ahead of time. Are you needing a long weekend vacation? Yeah, you gotta put that on the books weeks (or months) ahead of time. Did you wake up feeling like total nonsense? Guess what… time to call (or email or text, whatever the preference is with your boss) about your illness. And also a word of advice: if you’re constantly “sick” on Fridays or Mondays, they’ll notice. Don’t do it. Seriously.
  2. Assignments don’t just fall into your lap. If you’re wanting to prove yourself, but you don’t have anything going on that is “prove-worthy,” you have to ask for it. Or even step out of your comfort zone and recommend something that may benefit your job role, your department, or even the company. Just do it in such a way that you are not complaining about an issue, but rather identify the issue and then immediately follow up with a solution. That gets you double the gold stars!
  3. You can’t be staring at your phone all of the time. No matter how boring the meeting is or if you’re just sitting at your desk, being glued to your phone is a sign of disrespect and inattention. Sure, maybe the higher-ups may check their phones, but guess what? They’ve put their time in and they are higher-ups for a reason. You, my friend, are still at the bottom of the totem pole. You have to make a name for yourself and you have to be 100% present on the job.
  4. Make friends, but don’t get too personal. These are your colleagues. You may form great relationships with them and they may become great friends down the line, but coming to work on Monday and talking about how hung over you are and about the rager you went to over the weekend will not sit well. Exude confidence and professionalism, and your coworkers and peers will take you seriously. Talk about the one-night fling you had, and your reputation will follow you.
  5. Get to the point. At school it was acceptable to extend what would be a one-page paper into a lengthy 5 page essay, but it doesn’t work like that at work. Get straight to the point, talk about the highlights, and then allow your boss (or whomever you may be speaking to) to make a decision on whether or not they want to hear more. This becomes even more important in emails. Keep it high level by sticking to bullet point summaries.

What are some major difference you experienced going from college life to the work life?  

The Truths About Your First Job Out of College (Part 1)

Congratulations on landing your first job! You studied hard in school. Made the grades. Networked your little heart out. Applied to many jobs and had several interviews… and now you landed your first job! You did it…. kind of. Now you need to learn how to navigate the politics of the business world. Learn some of the ins-and-outs now to save yourself some embarrassment later, oh… and keep your job!

  1. The salary you accept will be the one you’ll have until your annual review. Thats 365 days from the day they hire you. Be smart and do your research ahead of time. A degree is excellent and shows that you are willing to go the extra mile and committed to continue to grow, but without the experience, it won’t do you much good. Be honest with yourself and the salary research you conduct. On the other side, don’t sell yourself too short either because this is going to lay the ground work for the rest of your career.
  2. Making a mistake won’t dock you points on your grade. It will affect your reputation, your boss’s reputation, and can have an impact on the business as a whole. There are some mistakes that are small and inconsequential, but before you try to take the reigns on a large project or a significant decision, talk to your boss first.
  3. If you want to move up, you have to get your name out there. Being smart and having potential is what got you the job in the first place. Doing a good job, networking with your peers and other departments, and getting involved in the company is what gets you noticed and moving ahead. Do not pass up an opportunity to event plan, to come in early, or stay a little bit late to “help out.” Those little actions add up to large opportunities.
  4. You are not at a position to say “No.” You are starting towards the bottom of the totem pole, just like those before you. You are not above the task that is being asked of you, even if it’s reloading the paper into the copy machine. The more helpful you are, the more you are noticed and acknowledged as a team player. Don’t ruin your chances by saying you are “above” the task that is being asked of you.
  5. Be nice to the admins. They will play a significant role in your networking web. They know the people that can help you out. The nicer you are to them, the more likely they can help you get the CEO to come to the employee event you helped plan, which in turns gets you face time with… the CEO! They also talk to managers, directors, and other employees. Let your reputation speak for itself.

What are some hard lessons you may have learned from your first (or second, or third) job out of college?