Tips to Remember When Starting Your First Job
Discover essential tips for a successful transition into the working world after graduation, from navigating office dynamics to planning for a secure financial future!
Walking across a stage and accepting a diploma is a very exciting time. After four or five years of undergraduate studies, a majority of these graduates will be ready to enter the real world, which for many, entails working in a chosen field.
Post-graduate work differs from the types of jobs many students held during their summers or while on campus. Those weren't necessarily careers, because students knew they'd only have to work for a limited number of months or weeks before their time would again be dedicated to studying.
The same applies to internships because in most instances, these would start in May and end around August, just before it was time to head back to campus. For the students who have secured a job following graduation, the notion of working every day, from morning to late afternoon, might seem a little daunting. After all, you've likely been in school for a large portion of your young life.
Transitioning into a full-time position requires some change and adaptation. If you have an opportunity lined up following graduation, you'll want to prepare for what awaits at you at your new job.
Grades don't hold the same weight
In every level of school, you're taught that grades and test scores are some of the most important parts to your education. Without either, you won't do well in a class and achieve a high grade, and in the end, good grades will help get you a degree.
But once you enter the working world, grades and grade point average, in more instances than not, don't really matter. Depending on the field you're entering, most of your co-workers come from different backgrounds and realistically only care if you complete the work you're assigned well and on time.
Your education and past experience will come in handy when you're trying to figure out a different problem or looking for ways to complete a project, but don't go around the office boasting that you made the Dean's list all four years, because at the end of the day, there is no semesterly recognition.
As a new hire, you will find yourself in a somewhat awkward situation. You want to make a name for yourself, but you don't want to rub fellow employees the wrong way.
Doing so will involve completing all of your work in a timely fashion. Try to go above and beyond with what you're asked, and if you finish one task early, see if you can pick up another. Co-workers will quickly notice your willingness to be good at your job, and that you can be trusted more.
Timing is important
On a daily basis, you're expected to be in the office or online for a certain number of hours. You will likely have meetings and other events throughout the day, but you should always strive to complete your daily work. Your time is just as important as everyone else's, and in a large majority of workplaces, no one wants to sit around an office any longer than they have to.
Furthermore, you will have to get used to scheduling time off for a vacation or personal matters, stated U.S. News & World Report. Unlike college, you don't automatically get weeks off for winter and spring break or the holidays. Most jobs give you two weeks of vacation, although this number will vary.
Always schedule your days off well in advance so your boss and co-workers will not be surprised and find themselves in a difficult position during the time you're away.
Expect a realistic salary
Depending on your field, your starting salary will differ from new workers in other industries. According to CNN Money, the median starting salary for a business major is around $50,000, while the median salary for someone with an engineering background is just over $64,000.
As such, you will have to accept that in all likelihood, your first year's salary will be around the starting level. But this doesn't mean you will keep the same income moving forward. Don't hesitate to ask for a potential raise if you have been completing all of your work with few distractions and complaints or even better, going above and beyond. Eventually, your starting salary will be a thing of the past.
"It's as equally important to plan for when you stop working."
Plan for the future
If there's one mistake recent graduates make, it involves not saving right away for retirement and the future. As soon as you get a job, you should open a savings account and retirement fund and immediately begin investing in your future.
As much as you want to enjoy your newfound freedom and more money than you had while in school, it's equally important to plan for when you stop working. That time may seem far away, but if you start saving now, you will enjoy a comfortable retirement.
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