Congratulations! You just accepted your first offer out of school. The fun has just begun. Here are some tips for transitioning into the workforce from school:
1) Write down notes from meetings and document what deliverables are expected of you.
In the workforce, days get busy and things get forgotten. We suggest writing down and documenting the most important points that were discussed in meetings and the action items expected from you, in addition to the items others are intended to complete. If this is documented and shared with the relevant individuals after the meeting, no one will be able to say, "I remember it being the other person's job," if anything is overlooked.
2) Try to find or research the answer to your question instead of immediately reaching out to your manager or colleague.
There's no stupid questions, right? Right. But, there are silly oversights. By taking the time to find the answer after being stumped for longer than usual, you can better understand whatever process was giving you trouble and become a valuable resource for your team. If you do your research and still can't find the answer, compile everything you considered and make sure to state what you looked at in the beginning of your reach out. This will show you're proactive and will avoid for any repeated suggestions.
For example, state what documents you looked at or who you already reached out to; "I wasn't able to determine a path forward after reviewing X, Y, and Z. Can you suggest what else I consider to help with this?"
3) Ask your manager and team members how they work and how they like things completed.
Understanding and setting these expectations right when you start a new role will set you up to better deliver on your work and responsibilities. Try to spend a few weeks adopting the team's current ways of doing things before making suggestions for how improvements can be made. Don't be afraid to ask what challenges they face so you can try to better prepare and even avoid these issues. Many people like to avoid straightforward questions - but we're firm believers that transparency is key.
4) Keep a daily tracker.
Make a spreadsheet that is dedicated to everything you accomplish on a daily or weekly basis. Include things as seemingly small as reviewing and updating a facility procedure document or training a new hire to significant achievements like completing a project that took 5 months. This will be a great resource for performance reviews and can be leveraged to earn a promotion or raise in salary. Without keeping a running list, you might not realize how much "smaller" tasks add up to provide a notable impact on your team or company.
5) If you're in the office, try to say hello to others in the morning, especially individuals on your team.
You might be an introvert or you might just be tired, but addressing your nearby peers can be beneficial for a few reasons. First, you're able to create these relationships that will help in the long-run. This reason will be more relevant at the start of your time with that company. Next, by addressing your peers in the morning, you can pick up on their mood and understand how to approach them (or leave them be) throughout the work day.
6) Remember that you can't be everyone's friend.
But you can always be respectful. It's great to be known as the "Nice One" but it's also great not to be taken advantage of because you're too nice and always say yes to requests. Understand when boundaries need to be set and communicated, but also understand how to set those boundaries without causing any issues future issues for yourself. Keep it short and sweet - no one besides your direct manager is entitled to an explanation.
Now go be a rockstar in your new role. Next stop - promotion!
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