10 Tips to Help Graduates Succeed in Their First Job
May 29, 2015
For thousands of recent graduates across the country, graduation holds a two-sided definition: It is both the end of something and the beginning of something. For many it is the transition they have been waiting for — time to step forward from a lifetime of learning and into a career.
Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work alongside some amazing people. Whether it was my time at Microsoft or the people I work with now at Porch, I have noticed some marque traits that really great contributors and leaders possess.
To help recent college grads transition from the classroom to the office, here are 10 tips for success.
1. Be open-minded
Try and work with as many different types of people and in as many different situations as possible. Volunteer for interesting projects, introduce yourself to someone new every day and embrace the uncomfortable nature of not knowing everything.
2. Be measured
Make sure you and your manager share the same point of view on success. Your daily priorities should align to with the broader business goals.
Do a weekly check-in to ensure what you do is material to the success of the overall business.
3. Be collaborative
In college you needed to be self-focused. Now it is about the business. The old saying “there is no ‘I’ in team” is 100 percent true. If you cannot collaborate, you will have a hard time being successful, and you are not going to get a lot of fulfillment out of your day. Don’t be a lone wolf.
4. Be patient
Things are going to go wrong. Use these moments in time as opportunities to accelerate the development of your own self-awareness and growth. You can’t run away when something doesn’t go your way. Stay involved and be an embodiment of the change you want to see.
5. Be flexible
Even if you don’t love your first job, do it well and find ways to empower others to do their jobs well. Proving that you can useful and resourceful will make your leaders, co-workers and even other companies want you on their team.
An entry-level job is an opportunity. If you can be good for the business, the business will be good to you. If you can persist and do a job you don’t like well, imagine what you can do when you find your passion.
6. Be resilient
In college, when you fail it’s a sign that you didn’t learn and may not graduate. It is very black and white. In your career you will fail, and when you do, you learn hugely valuable lessons that you can take with you the rest of your working life. Handle your mistakes with grace and turn them into action rather than inaction. Don’t hang your head. Bounce back and take what you have learned and move forward.
7. Be proactive
Some people want things to happen, some people wish things would happen and some people make things happen. Get involved in the business and find ways to be proactive. Utilize your strengths to drive impact, identify areas of weakness where your involvement in certain projects will help you refine your skillset.
8. Be humble
Any great entrepreneur, artist or athlete will tell you that they did not get ascend their career alone. You will need many mentors throughout your career so be open-minded. You will find interesting people you can learn from all over the place.
9. Be curious
Learning never ends. Stay on top of what is happening around you. Follow trends that will help your business, read books that interest you. If you maintain a passion for learning you never feel irrelevant.
10. Be gracious
As you find success, make sure you highlight the “how” over the “what”. It isn’t just about scoring touchdowns and putting points on the board. How you got there is likely the result of work others have done to help you out. Bring people along for the ride and never dismiss the contributions other have made.