You reached a major milestone when you finished college. You breached another by landing your first professional job. Unfortunately, succeeding at your first job can be much more difficult.
If you just started your first real job after college, you should follow these tips to get off on the right foot.
1. Be More Professional Than Your Colleagues
Some of your older colleagues may be showing up to work a little bit late, bend the rules of the company dress code and have occasional quarrels with their bosses. Their behavior may give you the impression that the company is more lax than it really is.
You don’t want to follow their examples. Bosses often give more established employees a free pass for some of their behavior, because they are very valuable assets. Until you have shown that you are an irreplaceable employee, you need to follow company rules by the book. These include:
- Dressing appropriately. If you work in a firm that requires a suit, you need to learn how to tie your tie properly.
- Show up early. Try to show up about 10 minutes early every day. Instead of using that time to lounge around at the water cooler, use it to prepare things for the day ahead.
- Keep social loafing to a minimum. There is nothing wrong with joking around with your colleagues from time to time, but don’t be too noticeable about it. You also should avoid using social media as much as possible (or not use it at all).
- Don’t take extended breaks. Be back when your employer expects you.
Your boss is more likely to keep you around and promote you if you have a professional attitude. Do your job to the best of your ability.
2. Treat Your First Month Like an Interview
New employers often want to get rid of bad new employees as soon as possible. If you aren’t pulling your weight during the first month, there is a good possibility that you will be terminated.
Don’t assume that things will be smooth sailing after you accept a job offer. You need to work your tail off during the first month to make a great impression. Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.” told Business Insider that you should treat your new job like you are still being interviewed.
“It takes time to earn the trust of your boss and coworkers,” Taylor states. “So do your best work and avoid becoming complacent.”
3. Take Initiative About Addressing Your Weaknesses
Every new employee is going to face a learning curve. That learning curve will be even more of a hurdle for recent college graduates that haven’t worked in a professional job before.
Good bosses understand that it takes some time to learn the ropes. They know you won’t get everything right in the first couple of weeks. However, you need to be proactive about addressing your weaknesses.
According to Harvard Business Review, the old “fake it until you make it” approach doesn’t work.
“Many new workers try to appear more knowledgeable than they really are. They don’t ask questions. They think they need to have answers to be valuable to their organizations, and they can’t admit to a lack of experience or understanding. They compensate for their lack of confidence with overconfidence. But here’s the secret: They’re not fooling anyone!”
If you feel you are struggling with an aspect of your new job, you should bring it to your boss’s attention. Be upfront about your weaknesses and the steps you are taking to address them. Ask for feedback to get help.
A decent boss won’t look down on you for asking for help or admitting your shortcomings. They will appreciate that you are being forthcoming and care about improving.
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com