With graduation season upon us and summer vacation over, many people are starting or looking for new careers or challenges. Moving into a new role can be a little daunting, but here’s a list of tips and advice to help you navigate the workplace.
Your career choice has a huge impact on every aspect of your life. Don’t leave important things to chance. If you learn to use effective strategies to make informed decisions, you can live the life you want. You are not subject to the whims of economic change.
To find the best career fit, you must first evaluate yourself and make a list of occupations that you think might match your interests and skills. After researching these occupations, narrow down your choices to a “short list” of career fields to explore further with informational interviews. Once you’re ready, you can choose a career field, set goals, and develop an action plan to achieve those goals.
If you’re fresh out of college, new to the world, don’t know what you want to do yet, or don’t have a clear career plan, you can use self-assessment tools and career tests to gather information about your characteristics and then generate a list of occupations that are a good fit based on those characteristics. Or CouponBirds has put together a guide to career choices for college students that you can consult and make your own.
Finally, with all your research done, you may be ready to make a choice. Based on all the information you’ve collected, choose the career you think will give you the most satisfaction. Realize that if you change your mind about choices at any point in your life, you can start over. Many have changed careers at least a few times.
Develop a career action plan, a written document that lists all the steps that must be taken to achieve your goals. Think of it as A road map that will take you from point A to point B and then to C and D. Write down all of your short – and long-term goals and the steps you must take to achieve each goal. Include any expected obstacles that might prevent you from achieving your goals, as well as ways to overcome them.
That may sound like a lot of work — and it is. But it’s much easier to chart a career path when you know what you want. Taking these steps early will save you a lot of struggle and uncertainty in the long run.
If you’ve found the job you want, congratulations! Now comes the hard part — proving yourself to your colleagues and employers. Starting a new job presents many challenges, especially if you’re a recent graduate. Here are some tips on how to succeed in the workplace so that you can shed your “newbie” nickname as soon as possible.
Understand the work environment
It helps to understand what is expected of the company culture. Depending on the company you currently work for, you may find a wealth of information online about the work culture they promote, or you may not. Of course, since you work there, you can experience it for yourself and see if it’s right for you. Find out how the company attracts and supports employees. Understand what the daily work environment is like. Learn how the company handles conflict and office politics. Following these steps can help you prepare for the adaptation.
Realize that you have a lot to learn
Be humble at all times. Even if you have a degree or have some experience, always keep in mind that you are “new/girl” and that you will not help your case by being smug or arrogant to others. Of course, even if you’ve done this job before, there are many procedures and policies that you must be familiar with in a new company. It helps if you keep up with the tutor – sooner or later, you’ll eventually find someone willing to show you the ropes. A mentor is someone with knowledge or experience from whom you can gain valuable insights and advice, and whose input can significantly improve the way you work in your current role.
Master your workday
Make a daily to-do list. Setting clear goals for your workday is crucial to effective productivity. Even if your work involves the same tasks day in and day out, it helps define the purpose and expectations behind each task you are responsible for, so no matter how mundane you may seem, you will always see value in your work. Find your peak productivity and schedule your most critical tasks during that time. And make sure to schedule short breaks every hour or two — the human brain can only focus on work for so long before productivity starts to decline.
Be a team player
Getting along with colleagues is key to fitting in and enjoying your work. Therefore, just as important as performing your duties is contributing to others as much as possible. People appreciate colleagues who work well with others and participate in team work. If you see a colleague struggling with certain tasks, offer your help. This gives you a chance to get to know the people you work with better and demonstrate your willingness to work with the team. Also, you should be able to receive as you give — accept others’ suggestions and know when to compromise.
Everyone’s job is different, but it’s good advice to take the time to learn as much as you can from everyone you meet at work.
There are other things you can do to make your first day and first week on the job a positive, exciting, and fun experience.