It can be intimidating entering the professional world for the first time. You may think you know what to expect, but as in any new situation, there will be things about your job that come as a surprise. Regardless of what industry you’re in, there are a few things you should be prepared to face in every entry-level job. Here are a few tips to help you kickstart your professional career.
Create a good impression with your co-workers
Since this is your first professional job, you probably remember all-too-well the importance of making a good first impression during each job interview. It’s just as important to create a good first impression with your new co-workers. Being friendly is one of the easiest ways to make a good impression. As opportunities arise throughout the day to talk to people, do so, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone. Your new co-workers will likely ask you about yourself, so be sure to also ask about them in return. Asking questions about the person you’re talking to and taking the time to get to know them makes you instantly more likable than someone who just wants to talk about him or herself.
Not only do your actions allow you to make a good impression, your appearance also plays a big role. If you’re unsure what to wear on your first day, read through the company handbook. Chances are there will be some guidelines in the handbook that can help you choose your first-day-of-work outfit. If you don’t have that yet, reach out to your hiring manager or check out the company website to see what the employees are wearing in pictures. Are they business casual or on the professional side? Maybe your new employer is more laid back and jeans are the norm. You’ll want to dress accordingly and be confident that your outfit is appropriate for your job. If you have any doubts, dress more professionally on your first day. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
It can be a big adjustment going from yoga pants and ripped jeans to professional clothing. Additionally, chances are if this is your first job, you may not have a lot of money to spend on a new wardrobe. To save money, consider creating a capsule wardrobe. This is a wardrobe filled with two to three dozen quality, versatile basics that you can mix and match. Another great option for building your professional wardrobe is to shop secondhand. Many thrift stores, including online thrift store thredUP, offer a variety of clothing options at reasonable prices. They carry affordable clothing from brands like Madewell that is perfect for the office!
Prepare ahead of time
One of the smartest things to do before starting a new job is to map out your route to your workplace in advance. Pay attention to how much traffic there is on your route during the morning commute so you can give yourself enough time to arrive. You can even get up early one morning and give the commute a test run. Pay attention to any special events or construction that could impact traffic. However long you determine your route will take, leave at least 10 mins prior on your first real day of work. Showing up a little early is totally fine, but being late on your first day can start things off on the wrong foot and leave a bad impression.
Create a 90-day plan
The first 90 days on the job are crucial. In fact, many employers have a 90 day evaluation period to ensure the job is a good fit. This is your chance to demonstrate that you can have an impact on the company and take ownership of your new role. While many companies have an orientation program to set their new employees up for success, not all do. Whether or not your company has a plan in place, you should create your own 90-day plan. This should consist of things you should be doing or accomplishing during your first week, month, and 90 days on the job that will set you up for success. You can also check in with your supervisor periodically throughout your 90 days to get feedback on your performance and ask questions. Based on your supervisor’s feedback, you can modify your plan, and truly make the most of your new position