So, you recently graduated! Congratulations!
Now, you’re at your new job. Congratulations again!
It’s all very exciting but also a bit nerve wracking. You’re a rookie and are just learning the ropes of your new job. Bosses understand this and don’t expect you to know everything, but of course you want to do the best job possible. What do you really know though? How do you make a difference right away? What do you do when you feel like you know nothing?
Take a breath. You know a lot more than you think you do. While you may not be an expert at your job yet or know your new industry or company inside out, you can take the skills you have from college and prior work experience and apply them wisely.
What do you know? Well…
Organizational skills – As a student you organized your own schedule and workload. You navigated registration and sometimes convoluted course offerings. You also balanced your class deliverables with a part time job and the rest of your life. You may have chaired a committee, been an officer of a club, run a campus organization, or helmed a charity event. You were a project manager for yourself - now be one for your new company. Build on those skills. Volunteer to be on projects. Take on organizing or administrative duties where possible. Learn the company’s project management software or other tools. You’ll not only contribute to the team, you’ll learn more quickly and thoroughly how your company runs.
People skills – As a student you interacted with lots of different people - classmates, roommates, co-workers, teachers, administrators, etc. And probably not every interaction was positive or easy. You've got people skills! You can negotiate and influence others. You know how to handle problems. There will be opportunities every day for you to use these skills. A valuable member of the company team is someone who doesn’t cause drama. Someone who works well with others. Someone who treats others with respect and can express different opinions clearly and calmly. Don’t underestimate how critical good people skills are to a successful career. Your skills should give you confidence, from your first day onward.
Classroom knowledge – What did you study? While you may be new and just starting out, you were hired in part because of what you already know. That knowledge can be useful right away. Pay attention and be prepared to offer an opinion or suggestion, if you are asked, or offer to help if you see an opportunity. Maybe you can't write the report as a newbie, but you can offer to proofread it or check the facts and figures. Don’t overstep but recognize where you can apply some of your specific area of study or experience. Most entry level or junior positions are designed to use your skills in this way, as you also learn new things and work towards the next level or promotion. Be confident in what you know and work hard!
A future oriented mindset – College had a path that you were familiar with, one that laid out the steps to move to the next level and achieve success. Entry level classes prepared you for the more senior courses. Practical skills were the basis for more complicated work at the next level. Good writing skills were critical to almost every class. And knowing all this, you were always prepared for the next step, laying the groundwork and cultivating the skills needed to move on and up. You should do the same at your job. Pay attention to what your current responsibilities are AND what is expected of you at the next level. Prepare for what you need to do. Understand how what you are doing now will prepare you for the future, and how to build on your skills and experience in the right way. Not just for this job, but for your career as a whole. What will it take for you to get to your dream job? What are the steps for every rung on your career ladder?
You should also take this future mindset and apply it in a client or customer focused direction. What things does the company need to do to make their clients happy and grow the business for the future? What KPIs or other metrics have customers put in place? What sales or other goals are planned for? How does your job fit in? You’ll be a better employee if you understand the big picture, the future, and how you can contribute.
So, give yourself some credit. Don’t be cocky or think you know it all, you don’t. But you know more than you might think. You were hired because someone had confidence in you. Now it’s up to you. Stop feeling nervous and build on the potential your company saw when they hired you!
Looking for a job to put your skills to work? Send us your resume and we can help.