YP Insights

10 Ways to Start Your First Job After College on the Right Foot as a Young Professional

Julia Flaherty
Posted by of Insight Publications

Editor’s note: This is the first installment of YP Insights, a blog series created by Insight’s Julia Flaherty. Learn more about the blog here

In the New North, the right skill sets have shared value for new employees and their employers. As a young professional entering the workforce in the region, these simple tips will help you start your career path on the right foot. The right head space will create a stellar work space. Start with this guide.

  1. Identify your mentors. Whether you select someone among your colleagues, peers or a professional smiling-2362136_640outside of your current organization, the key is to choose a senior person within your industry who you can learn from. Find someone who shares your passions and goals for a career path. Ideally, this person will be someone who you feel comfortable asking many career-oriented questions to. Be mindful of your mentor’s time once you secure them. While they may be open to helping you, they will still be pursuing all of their normal responsibilities. Their professional world will keep spinning, though yours may just be starting.
  2. Value the advice of your colleagues and professional peers. Do not take your colleagues for granted in the workplace. Though you may be coming in with a fresher ideology of the latest software programs or best new business practices, your colleagues have equal and opposite force by experience, connections and ingrained business philosophy. Value the assets and talent different age groups have to offer in the workplace. Be patient learning basic business practices as you begin to express your ideas for the future of the organization. You and your colleagues will all have a lot to learn about each other and what skills you offer the group.
  3. Maintain your positivity and enthusiasm. A good first impression is one thing, but the mood and actions you pursue in your daily activities will make all the difference. A positive attitude goes a long way in the workplace. If you’re willing to learn and do it with an eager voice, happy face and desire for more, you will undoubtedly stand out. Everyone will have their bad days, but it’s important you acknowledge the value of being able to separate what’s personal and professional. Work through hard times in the most proactive ways you can. Employee wellness should be implemented by your employer and reflected through you as a sign of self-care.
  4. Feed your passions. Utilize your talents and skills to your fullest capabilities. Your employer won’t be able to read your mind going into your first job. Make a point to walk them through what you know and how your skills can help the company while enhancing and shaping your role. Throughout your professional life, it will be of great value of you to remember that with every new job, you are starting over. No one employer will 100 percent know who you are as a professional on day one. There will always be new beginnings. It is unlikely you will end up staying with the first job you get out of college throughout your professional life. Introductions are a repeat process. Carry yourself with emotional intelligence. Value the opportunity to engage new employers.
  5. Don’t be shy to express your ideas. Use your voice. This isn’t exactly a matter of being extraverted or workplace-1245776_640introverted, but realizing your potential to express your ideas in a professional, productive manner. A person of authority is someone you should respect, not feel intimidated by. They want to see you succeed so you can help the company succeed. 
  6. Maintain open communication with your boss. Every boss throughout your life will be different, so the earlier you discover how the two of you can communicate, the better. Whether your boss prefers email or time face-to-face, it’s important to always keep the lines of communication open. This will give both parties more confidence in your abilities and role within the company. Do not dismiss the potential weekly meetings with your boss can bring to the overall discussion. Talking about happenings will allow for new developments. Progress starts with conversation.
  7. Learn from your professional mistakes. Realize that everyone makes mistakes at their job and in life, whether you’ve been in the company three weeks or 17 years. You will inevitably make mistakes because you are human. The best thing you can do is learn from them. Don’t be hard on yourself or let it affect your mood moving forward. Making mistakes is often how you learn. Your boss will know you are trying. Always make the extra effort to do your best.
  8. Challenge yourself to learn new methods and programs. Though you may come in to the company with ideas about how certain processes should function, your employer may be more comfortable with other methods or programs. Be open and eager to explore new ways. Challenge yourself to learn something new. In the same respect, don’t be afraid to propose your ideas for best methods or programs to your boss. Be confident that they hired you for a reason and trust your expertise, though you may still be in the “proving yourself” phase. Everyone who has come before and will come after you to any company will go through this. And that’s the key — you will get through it! Do it with your head held high.
  9. Set goals for yourself. Don’t lose sight of what you want out of your job and in a career. Let the company work for you as much as you work for it. Absorb all of the knowledge and skills you can. Build relationships, create connections and network. Make the most of every professional experience you get in life. How you spend your time is important. Value all things you do. See the lesson in whatever you experience. Dare to be agenda-2295709_640challenged. Adaptability is a valuable character trait.
  10. Know that your college major may not be the career field you end up in. Understand how many people major in fields in college they don’t end up in, in life. Your education will not have been a waste of your time or financial assets as long as you value and utilize the skills you learned in some capacity. Oftentimes, the relationships you had and extracurricular activities in which you engaged will complement your long-term goals for the future more than anything. Though you may plan, life may have other plans. Enjoy the excitement of what’s unexpected. Onward!

About the Author: Julia Flaherty has worked as a digital and social media strategist, marketing coordinator and copywriter for entertainment and fashion companies in New York and New Jersey. A 2015 communications graduate of UW-Stevens Point, she began working as events and special projects coordinator for Insight Publications in August 2017.