The first day on the job can be an anxiety provoking experience. New rules, new people, new expectations. The ability to transition from a college student to a successful working professional requires discipline, attentiveness, initiative, teachability and discernment. Thankfully, there have been many former students that have successfully managed this transition. In turn, they have been able to make valuable contributions to their companies during their first year of employment. “What are some of the things I can do to stand out in the workplace,” you ask? Here are some actions you can take to pave your pathway to success:
Showcase your team spirit
Fostering connections with colleagues is essential to having a successful and enjoyable first year on the job (and many years after). Therefore, it is important to show kindness, generosity, and praise towards your colleagues in order to build rapport. Invite colleagues out for coffee or lunch to get to know them and the work environment better. Likewise, accept invitations from your colleagues when they have been extended. For those days when co-workers are overstressed with projects, bring office snacks to make the experience more pleasant. Cookies and candy never disappoint when people want to take a break. Lastly, when working on team projects, acknowledge each teammate’s contributions publicly. When you share credit with others for work well done, others will begin to share credit with you. All of these acts will show your colleagues that you are invested in them. As a result of your thoughtfulness, camaraderie will begin to cultivate within the office which will take the work environment to new heights!
Be engaged in supervision
Supervision is an opportunity to get tailored advice on how to be successful at your job. Your manager will have a vested interest in your work performance as it impacts the organization’s productivity. Therefore, be receptive to constructive feedback from your boss on areas you are excelling in and areas you can improve upon. Be sure to implement those suggestions. Ask questions to gain clarity on how to complete tasks that are assigned to you. This will show your boss that you are attentive to details and serious about your work. It is also important to set a developmental plan with your boss when possible. It gives you and your boss the opportunity to discuss position responsibilities, establish key goals that need to be accomplished in your role, and develop ideas on how to achieve those objectives. Additionally, it allows you the opportunity to disclose what you want to learn and how you want to grow from the process. By taking this approach, both of you will have a clearer understanding of each other’s expectations and action steps to meet those requests. In the end, you will be able to achieve the milestones that were set forth and gain an ally that can testify to the credibility of your work.
Project a professional image
Behaviors get noticed on the job, whether they are positive or negative. Demonstrate professionalism in all circumstances to garner respect from your colleagues. When in large and small meetings, carry a notepad and take notes. Keep a running diary of everything you learn, whether it is an acronym for a work procedure or department, or more complex ideas. Organize your notes in ways you can understand the content. This will allow you to access and recall information quickly and easily which shows your colleagues that you are a fast learner. Also, show initiative by coming to work early, staying late, and volunteering for projects. Your willingness to take on additional assignments and put in extra hours of work shows your boss and colleagues that you are dedicated to the organization’s success. They will be more likely to hold you in higher regard based on your diligence. Furthermore, it is important to not criticize office policies and procedures early on in your position. By embracing office practices, it shows your workmates that you are a team player and willing to follow rules that have been set in place. If you believe there are improvements that can be made to the office, think your ideas through carefully, and anticipate questions before presenting your ideas to others. Only make your suggestions over time as you gain more experience within your position. Also, be aware of the appropriate time to present your ideas to others based on their availability and work priorities. By being strategic and conscientious, colleagues will be more likely to consider your proposals as they will view your ideas as ways to make the office grow and become more efficient.
In summation, your first year of employment after college is going to be a transformational experience, but it can also be very rewarding. By following these tips, you will demonstrate your dedication to be the best. Pretty soon, others will appreciate your ambition and will begin to see you as a credible professional.