By Brad Karsh, President of JB Training Solutions and JobBound
“If I knew then what I knew now…”
Particularly at major milestones in our lives, this phrase rings all too well. As a college senior, you probably learned a thing or two (or fifty) since your first day on campus as a freshman. The same will be true as you become acclimated in your career. Just like college, your career will be a continuous learning experience.
In my opinion, making the transition from college to the working world is the single biggest transition that you will ever make…in your life! It is bigger than going from high school to college, it is bigger than getting married, and it is about the same as having children. The fact is that in many ways, the way you act, thrive, and survive in college is completely opposite from how you succeed in the workplace. But don’t freak out. I have ten workplace tips to help you make a smooth and successful transition.
1. Embrace the unknown as a challenge. 95% of your job will be on the job learning. See your new projects and responsibilities as learning opportunities. Don’t be afraid to figure it out. With topics and duties that are new to you, research, explore, and have fun with it.
2. Always have an opinion. Have an answer to “What do you think?” This will make you part of the conversation, and it will help you hone your decision-making skills.
3. Failing is learning. You won’t always have the “right” answer; see it as a learning opportunity. Never turn down a new project because you are intimidated or afraid to fail. Think outside the box and try new things.
4. Under promise, over deliver. It is always better to exceed expectations than not to be able to meet them. Be who you say you are, and do what you say you will do – and then some.
5. Focus on quality versus quantity. More is not necessarily better. Flawless execution is imperative to instill trust in your company and brand. Attention to detail is everything, so triple check all of your work. Treat every assignment as though the CEO will be evaluating it.
6. Have solutions for problems. Always brainstorm answers and solutions for problems. Ask for guidance or input, not the answer.
7. Own your position and duties. See your duties through, from start to finish. Don’t be afraid to take complete ownership in all that you do. Consider yourself CEO of your position.
8. Join a professional organization. Obviously you are right on track having joined Phi Delta Theta and surely you’ve seen the benefits of membership. Stay involved in an organization after college. You know by now that organizations like Phi Delta Theta allow you to gain new skills and meet new people.
9. Find life balance. Your career schedule will be very different than your college schedule. As you become acclimated to your new hours and environment, make sure you do something for you every day. Whether it is reading your favorite newspaper, getting a good workout, or catching up with a friend – do something you love to do every day.
10. Keep a great attitude. For a manager, there is nothing worse than an employee with a bad attitude. A positive attitude is contagious and will make people want to work with you. Avoid negativity and find the positive in every situation. Attitude is everything!
At JB Training Solutions/JobBound, we recognize that this is a difficult transition, and we want to help. To this aim, we’ve launched “Millennials Mean Business.” (If you are currently in college, you are a millennial.) Through this initiative, we are offering amazing career and workplace advice all geared toward your generation about how to thrive at work.
You can follow us on Twitter @JBTSMillennials and check out our site.
Best of luck!
Brad Karsh is President of JB Training Solutions and JobBound, companies dedicated to helping individuals succeed in the workplace. An industry expert in his field and an accomplished public speaker and author, Brad Karsh has been featured on CNN, CNBC, and Dr. Phil, and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, and many others. Brad is author of Confessions of a Recruiting Director (Prentice Hall Press, 2006).
Prior to starting JB Training Solutions, Brad spent 15 years at advertising giant Leo Burnett in Chicago. He began his career in Account Management, working on clients including McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, and Pillsbury. He then moved into HR where he was responsible for hiring and training hundreds of employees.
Brad has conducted training programs all across the country for companies including ConocoPhillips, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Abbott Laboratories, Discover, The Chicago Blackhawks, Quaker, and dozens of others. Brad regularly delivers keynotes and workshops at Fraternity and Sorority conventions and conferences.
Follow Brad on Twitter @BradKarsh and follow “Millennials Mean Business” on Twitter @JBTSMillennials.
One thought on “Everything I Wish I Knew Before I Started Working”
Great post Brad.
Your comments are ‘spot on’, for many in the business community view the new graduate as ‘being two  weeks out of school.’, and certainly they are in a new working and learning environment as they begin their respective career path.
After retiring from a career in the Human Resources arena of some 40 years, I lost count of the thousands that were screened, interviewed and hired along the way. It is not uncommon to review 100 resumes, to screen down to say some 20 – 25, and after further review select 2 – 5, for phone / or video screen and subsequent on site interview to select 1 – 2 candidates before an offer is tendered. It’s a numbers game so your academic, leadership, community involvement, [ campus et al ], and how you present yourself are key to getting hired. Prepare, prepare, prepare …
Yes, new graduate you too will have to put in the long hours, meeting project deadlines, attending meetings, et al like those who have preceded you. These workplace functions help you of earn your way to be at the table ~ guard your language, ad hoc comments, and social media posts carefully, for others hear, read and process these as a reflection of you.
There will be job changes along the way; your work ethic, attitude, and integrity are closely monitored by those whom you interact with. Consider Brad’s blog points as the Millennials Cliff’s Notes to make your academic to workplace transition smoother.
Here’s to your success!
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