You’ve just graduated college. Congratulations! Now it’s time to venture off into the world of gainful employment. No doubt you are excited to dive into your chosen career and show how valuable an asset you can be to your new organization. It will be obvious to whomever you meet, especially potential employers, that the skills and knowledge you acquired in school are fresh in your mind and ready to be applied. However, it is important to remember a few simple rules as you begin your journey into the working world to develop good work habits.
- Don’t be a showoff or a know-it-all. Constantly raising your hand in class to answer and ask questions, and debating points ceaselessly might have impressed your professor but those behaviors will likely annoy your coworkers and boss. Share your knowledge when appropriate and express your concerns in a tactful manner. There is a difference between confidence and arrogance.
- Offer solutions, not problems. If you see that something’s not working, bring it to the boss’s attention – but don’t go without a couple of well-researched, analyzed recommended fixes for the problem. People who talk about the problem but don’t offer solutions are known as whiners or complainers and that’s not the impression you want to give.
- Be nice. This should be considered a given, but remember to treat people with respect, no matter their position within the organization. Being nice doesn’t cost you anything and when you are, people are more likely to offer help when you need it. Everyone wants to work with someone who is smart and polite.
- Listen, listen, and listen! There is nothing quite as nice as the sound of your own voice – to you. Avoid talking over others (especially your manager) and practice active listening. Focus completely on what is being said before you respond to avoid misunderstandings and lost time on do-overs.
- Don’t forget to network. Just because you got the job doesn’t mean that you need to stop making new connections. You never know who you may see again during your career and having valued sources of information and advice can be the key to your progression and success. Work hard to develop meaningful professional relationships within and outside the organization. They may just pay off in the long run.
In a perfect world, you’ll remember these rules and use them as building blocks for success in your career. However, it’s more likely that along the way, you’ll misstep or you’ll be faced with an obstacle that challenges your ability to be nice to everyone you meet. Barring these occurrences, perhaps you will become so entrenched in the job that you lose contact with those up-and-comers in your industry. To avoid these pitfalls, you’ll have to work hard at developing and maintaining good work habits. QuintCareers.com offers a list of 20 tips to help fresh starters make a positive first impression at a new job. One important point to remember is that very few people actually make a perfect first impression. But it is possible to put your best foot forward from the start. The best way to make a lasting positive impression is to maintain a positive, professional attitude, keep an open mind, get to know your team and the people around you, most importantly, do your job!