What to Expect At Your First Job

So you’ve graduated from college…congratulations!  Now what?

You’ve updated your resume, gone on several interviews, attended multiple networking events and workshops hosted by Career Services, and you’ve accepted an offer at a great company to start your first job.

So what should you expect?  This is a new and exciting chapter in your life, but one that is different from your first day on campus or starting an internship.

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At NYIT, we’re committed to educating the next generation of leaders and we would like to share some anecdotes and offer insight on what you should expect at your first job.

  1. Remember to have the right mindset and be humble.

You won’t start at the top and you’ll most likely be asked to do a lot of grunt work. Just remember that those who approach every task, big or small, with a good attitude and who treat everyone (and I mean everyone) with respect and fairness are the ones who climb a lot faster.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take notes.

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If I had any sage advice to offer, it would be to ask plenty of questions and take notes on the answers. For example, ask what the usual office protocol is and once you start your daily duties, ask questions again about things you are unsure of rather than fear looking dumb. Asking questions rather than assuming things always creates for more efficient results.

When assigned a new task, write it down on a post-it and keep it in front of you. Trust me. It will save your life.

*Tip – Use Asana, a free project management tool, to get organized and manage workflow.

  1. If you are still interviewing, don’t forget to do your research.

My first job was in marketing and I learned, early on, the power of negotiation. I wish I had the strength and courage to negotiate for a better salary, but I didn’t say a word. I just took what they offered (which was low) and an extra few thousand dollars would have went a long way, especially considering I worked part-time for several months to make ends meet. My advice: negotiate! Do your research to know your worth and be confident to ask for it.

*Tip – Use Payscale to research salary profile databases

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  1. Salary is important, but not as important as your passion.

Don’t place too much emphasis on the money.  A few hundred or thousand dollars in salary in the grand scheme of things (especially after taxes) is important, but not as important as finding a job and career that you are passionate about. 

  1. Most people don’t stay at their first job forever. You may use it as a stepping-stone, or if necessary, re-evaluate your profession.

My initial thought at my first job was that I was going to be there forever.  As it turns out, this job was the perfect stepping stone! Through this experience, I learned that your first job doesn’t have to dictate your entire career if you don’t want it to.  Sometimes accepting jobs as a “resume builder” will equip you with the skills you need to reach your ultimate goal. Don’t shy away from an opportunity just because it’s not your dream job; rather, make the most of your experience, soak up as much knowledge as you can, and leverage your skills to create the career you want.

If you find yourself questioning your chosen career path and needing to re-assess yourself, it is important to not only consider what you like to do, but why you like to do it.

*Note –According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average job tenure for workers age 20-24 (most often, new graduates) has historically been around 1.3 years

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  1. Be patient and continue to learn and grow.

Enjoy the job, enjoy being a professional.  Be patient and embrace the learning process, especially if you find a good job at a  company with a good culture and atmosphere.

 Learning starts right away.  It does not stop just because you have graduated from college.  There is a lot still to be learned in your career and it takes time to develop and apply what you have learned as a student into your daily life. 

 

Do you have any anecdotes or insight to share about your first job?

 

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