As graduation looms, I came across this great article for those of you about to enter the work of full-time work. These are 8 simple, straight-forward tips but trust me, they can lead you to success not just in your career, but in life in general. After all, how can you lose by saying “please” and “thank you?”
The following career advice is what I believe to be the top eight things graduates should know before joining the workforce.
I am sure there are additional tips you can bring into the workforce but these are a great start to ensure you begin on the right foot.
1. Time Management
Time is finite. Once it is gone you cannot take it back. Once a deadline is missed there is no turning back. If you missed an assignment, you risk a lower grade. But in the working world it can mean losing a job project and the company having to incur financial losses. Learn time management skills and you end up being more productive, effective, and efficient.
2. Do More, Talk Less
It’s far too easy to be convinced by people who say you can talk to impress people. And I do not deny that, but eventually your work has to be the proof that you are a good worker and you are dependable. You need to decide if you will do more and talk less or do less and talk more.
3. Being Present
Being present means two things to me. Firstly, it means be on time every time. This ranges from a small internal meeting to meeting your deadlines. It means being there when you are needed. Golden opportunities present themselves when you are present. Secondly, being present means focusing on what is the work that needs to be completed. It also means being mindful and fully aware of your surroundings.
4. Give Your Work A Routine
Develop some form of routine and be disciplined to stick to that routine. This is related to time management but goes beyond the time management that you do in the office. Have a routine for your life. Give yourself time – block off time for yourself to read or even do the chores like laundry, etc. Start to be more organized than when you were in college. Stick to this career advice even though it does not relate to career building. You will soon see the wisdom of it.
5. Be Nice
Learn to be authentic and avoid politics. Of course, sometimes it is tough not to get involved at all. But you can learn to avoid it and be real. Be authentic to your values. These are your anchors that hold you when people change and agendas change. Be nice to people regardless of rank and designation. Smile often. Say your “please” and “thank you.”
6. Compete With Yourself
Compete with no one else. Of course, no matter what is said and done, you will always be peeping at the next guy to see how he is doing in his career.
But don’t be overly affected by competition that you forget to look at yourself. Be the best you can be in this long cross country marathon, it is filled with detours and stops. When you focus too much on your competitors you may get lost. It’s one of those graduate career advice you need to experience to know what this truly means.
7. Create, Not Just Discover
Life is as much about creating as it is discovering. I hear far too often fresh graduates saying, “I need to discover myself.” But is life all about discovering yourself? It is and it is also not. Life is as much as creating the you, you want to be as it is in discovering the you that you are.
The truth is somewhere in between. So, when you get a job that is less than satisfactory for you, use it as a pedagogue to discover yourself. More importantly, use it to give you hints at creating the self you want to be.
8. Fun Is In Learning
There is a lot of fun in learning. If you understand being present in my earlier advice, then you will know work life presents so much you can learn and be paid for it. Learn to love what you do and learn to love learning. Because the chance to do what you love maybe far and in between. When you find fun in learning then you will be constantly improving yourself. Learn to love books and all sorts of books. There is no need to stick to books in your own industry.
These are the eight things I consider solid career advice for any graduate. A new phase of life has just begun. It’s a long road of work from now on. There is no need to take the whole in one breadth. Take time and enjoy life while honing your skills as you move along.
-Darlene Johnson, Senior Associate Director