Congratulations, class of 2016! You’ve graduated, and now you’re probably beginning to think about your new job and long term career plans. While you may not know what you want to do long term, your next job is very important to launching you in the right path.
No matter the job, every new opportunity can teach you something. Your first job out of school might not be a long-term job, but there are ways you can learn and stand out at work. If you do want to remain in your company and feel like you’ve found the perfect fit, these strategies will help you stand out and promote faster in your organization.
If you’re looking for ways to position yourself to a better job, or progress within your current company, check out these 3 ways new grads can stand out at work.
You’re Never Done Learning
Think you’re done with school once you’ve graduated? Not quite! Many employers offer tuition reimbursement, discounts on local community college fees, or their own internal classes for employees. Take advantage of these!
If you haven’t already taken classes on these subjects in school, try to take them as soon as possible within your first year or two at your new job:
- Business Writing – writing memos, summarized research papers, proper email etiquette, etc.
- Finance – not general finance, but the finances and budget of your company. If your company offers you training on budgetary or financial products your company uses, take these classes!
- Marketing/Public Relations – again, specifically focused on your company, if you can. It’s imperative to learn how to speak your company’s lingo, even if you’re never interviewed by the media.
Why should you take classes your first and second year at work? Typically, entry level jobs will not be that mentally taxing, so you should have enough energy to learn more. Also, many people are scared to take classes and possibly fail, so by taking classes and making yourself more versatile, people will be impressed by your skills.
Observe Your Peers and Supervisors
In your first year, avoid making good friends with any “group” of people. Instead, observe your peers and supervisors and pay attention to how people react to them. Someone you think to be a great employee may actually have a completely different reputation throughout the company, and it’s important to understand why they received that reputation.
A word of caution about getting lunch with coworkers: while it’s a good idea to occasionally go out to lunch with your coworkers, especially the ones you immediately work with (or if your supervisor takes out your team for lunch), avoid going to lunch regularly with the same people. In addition to be expensive (on an entry level salary, which you should be saving!), you want to be seem as impartial your first year at work, and going to lunch regularly with the same people won’t be seen as being impartial.
Position Yourself for the Next Level
Over your first year at an entry level job, you need to be constantly thinking about the next step. No matter how much you might love your entry level job, you need to promote (to make more money, gain new experiences, find another position you like even more, etc.). Try to use your first year thinking about what you like, where you want to be, and how to get there.
If there’s another department in your company you want to work for, figure out how to volunteer for projects that work with those employees. Take on a bigger project if it involves collaboration with employees outside of your immediate coworkers.
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As you take classes and observe your peers, you’ll begin to figure out what you need to do to move on past your entry level job. As you follow these 3 ways new grads can stand out at work, your first year at your entry level job should fly by and position you for greater opportunities in the future.