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Starting Your First-Ever Job? Here’s What to do in the First Three Months

Congratulations! You’ve worked hard for over a decade and graduation is officially behind you. But, now what? It’s time to enter the workforce. As informative as college may be, no college course can truly prepare you for what to expect during the first few months of your first job out of college. What should you do on your first day? Your first week? Or even your first month? Consider these tips to put yourself on the path to success.

Your First Day

First impressions are everything. On your first day of work, it’s important to show up on time and come to work (whether in person or remotely) dressed to impress. If you cross paths with someone in the kitchen or walk past a new colleague in the hallway, introduce yourself. If you are working remotely, ask for a list of teammates and proactively reach out to them to say hello. As redundant as first-day introductions can be, it’s important for people to remember who you are. Some companies work in an office tour or round of introductions during a staff Zoom meeting within their on-boarding process, but if this is not the case, make the initiative and introduce yourself to everyone you encounter. If you can, seek someone out to grab lunch with (even virtually) to get better assimilated. It’s always helpful to have a buddy who has insight into the office culture and can introduce you to more colleagues.

Your First Week

The first week on the job is usually a whirlwind, but try to absorb as much information as you can. Get to know your company culture, office-wide goals and if there are any special events happening, sign up! This shows that you are interested in meeting new people and want to get involved. Ask questions and offer to help. There may be downtime during the first few days. Don’t sit around and wait for tasks to be assigned to you – show initiative. And if you can, find a mentor. It never hurts to have someone more experienced to learn from and bounce around ideas with as your job progresses.

Your First Month

During your first month, it’s critical that you understand what is expected of you. What will it take to succeed in your new role day-to-day and long-term? Take time during your first few weeks to sit down with your manager and clarify mutual expectations. Shadow your team members and get to know them better. It’s important to network and to understand how different people communicate and prefer to work. You will more than likely have a lot of information thrown at you in the first few weeks on the job, so try to get organized and start good habits. And, above all things, make sure you ask questions. Asking questions shows initiative and can help you get the information you need to be successful.

Your First Three Months

During the first 90 days, set “SMART” goals for yourself, both short-term and long-term. “SMART” stands for specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-based. Schedule a meeting with your manager to check that you are on track for success and ask for feedback. Strive for small wins. As you begin to learn more about your team and their goals, identify areas where you have an advantage and try to fill small gaps. If your strength is organization, can you make a process more streamlined? If you’re creative, can you suggest a new idea? Putting in the extra effort will not only help you demonstrate your work ethic, but may also earn you positive feedback. Continue to learn more about your teammates, their preferred style of communication and, as always, continue to ask questions.

As you begin your career, it’s important to create good habits. By incorporating these tips early on in your career, you can better position yourself for both short and long-term success.

Photo credit: Canva

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