Top Eight Tips For Crushing Your First Job
You just graduated and are starting your first full-time job. You can figure everything out for yourself, or you can benefit from the wisdom of others. According to Meredith Whipple Callahan, author of Indispensable: How to Succeed at Your First Job and Beyond, here are the top eight tips for setting yourself up for success at your first job:
1. Start by Listening
Listening may seem easy, but few employees do it well. Cultivate your ability to listen with focus and intent. Especially in the early days, soak up as much information you can by listening to what is going on around you.
2. Ask the Dumb Questions Now
Though you are spending your time getting smart, there is still an expectation that you are the new guy. You may still get lost on your way to the bathroom, and you haven’t figured out the best lunch spots yet. As a novice, you have many disadvantages, but you also have one distinct advantage: there is no expectation that you know what is going on. Profit from today’s low expectations by asking all your questions—smart, dumb, and otherwise.
3. Approach Every Task With Enthusiasm
Not every task at work is challenging and intellectually engaging. As a new hire, you cannot be too good for the uninspiring tasks. And even as an experienced employee, you still can’t be too good for them. Colleagues respect employees who are willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in.
4. Understand What You Are Asked To Do
The first step to succeeding at your early assignments is knowing exactly what you’re asked to do. Do not risk misunderstanding your manager. Spend the extra two minutes to confirm your direction. It is your job, not your manager’s, to take the responsibility for clarifying and confirming.
5. Put Your Hand Up When You Need Help
Be willing to ask for support when you can’t complete your responsibilities. If you have worked enthusiastically toward completing your project and done all you can, you should not be faulted for honestly and humbly asking for help when you need it. When asking for help, though, be sure that you ask with sufficient time remaining so you can still complete your work on schedule.
6. Drive Your Development from the Start
Realize that no one is as invested in your development as you. To move up from your current position, take responsibility for your ongoing professional development. Start with a vision of where you want to go, align with your manager on what needs to happen, and proactively check-in over time on how you’re doing.
7. Run Down The Feedback You Need
Do not wait around for others to provide feedback. Instead, take responsibility for understanding how you’re doing and what you can do better. Solicit feedback from not only your manager, but your colleagues as well. Avoid defensiveness; be open and interested in what you can learn from their views.
8. Start Building A Network of Supporters
As you start to build a track record, you will create either a community of promoters or a community of detractors. These are the people who will help you or hinder you as you try to move forward.