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Getting the most out of your first job

Getting the most out of your first job

Congratulations! You’ve landed your first official job. That’s quite a milestone and you should celebrate it! But after the buzz wears off from accepting the offer and your new reality begins to set in, there’s a lot to consider that you might not have thought about before.

You might find yourself examining everything from your workwear wardrobe to the concept of meal-prepping. It’s perfectly natural to give everything a look over but once you’re in the building, staring across at your new team you’ll find it won’t matter which brand of slacks you chose for the day or how perfectly you’ve memorized the fun facts in the company brochure.

So, how can you prepare for your first job? Not to worry, here are a few things to focus on while trying to make the most out of your workplace debut. These quick tips will help you with your personal development both on the job and in the future.

1. Think about why you chose the job

What made you choose this role for yourself? Is it because you’re excited about the company culture? Do you believe in the brand? Success looks different for everybody so it’s important to discover the things about this role that will make you feel fulfilled each day. That can be as broad as wanting to work with a good team or something deeper like being able to contribute to the ethics of the company. Whatever that looks like for you, keep it in mind when you start each day.

2. Keep track of what you’re learning

Not to sound too much like your high school guidance counselor, but every experience has the potential to be a learning experience. Your first job offers plenty of opportunities to build foundations for your future. So take a moment to think about everything this role, company, and the team around you could teach you. This is where you’ll grow the most, both professionally and personally.

3. Work smarter

In any job, you’re going to have plenty of deadlines to work towards. That won’t be much different than what you had to do in school but at times it could feel more demanding. It might take you some time to adjust to your new team’s workflow and it’s important to learn how to balance your deadlines with meetings, collaborations, and additional projects.

You can start by trying out some productivity techniques. A great one to start with is time blocking. It’s where you set certain times during the day for specific tasks and projects. Another important thing to do is communicate with your team about how you can best work together. You might pick up some fresh ideas on how to map out your day.

4. Be mindful of your bad habits and own them

Nobody’s perfect. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll forget to do something, a deadline you were confident about might end up having to get pushed back. While not ideal, these things happen. You’re going to have your abilities tested and it’s going to be great because you’ll discover blind spots and parts of yourself that you’ll have the opportunity to improve. Nobody likes to mess up or focus in on their bad habits, but if you own up to mistakes and get up again when you fall, you’ll improve all the time.

5. Create a positive environment

Nobody likes to be surrounded by negative talk, especially at work. Think about how you can bring positive energy to conversations throughout the day. It might not feel like it, but your positivity can help change your team’s dynamic and re-theme the culture by starting a ripple effect. In doing so, you’ll make the working environment better for your team and you’ll be remembered as someone who makes people feel good about being at work. That’s a win-win for everybody.

6. Manage your expectations

Every new experience comes with expectations. The key to having a great experience anywhere you go is to understand what those expectations are. What do you want from this job? To build good connections, expand your expertise, gain experience in your dream field, earn a lot of money?

Now take those thoughts and look at them objectively. What is actually possible? Are your goals a little lofty for this position? Or are they out of reach, but possible through promotion, dedication, and hard work? Explore these ideas and level your expectations for your time there.

7. Work hard

This is an obvious point but it’s always worth being reminded of. Hard work always goes a long way towards reaching your goals. Whether that’s something more immediate like making the most out of your first job or setting yourself up for a long and rewarding career.