5 Tips for Recent Grads
Now that I've been out of college for three years, I've learned a few things that have helped me in my current role and in the start of my career. Here are my top five tips for recent grads and those entering the workforce:
1) Dress to Impress
I've always heard "dress like the job you want" and I think that's accurate. If you want to be the CEO of a company one day, dress like it. If you want to be a professional musician one day, dress like it. I think your clothes and style create a first, and sometimes lasting, impression. You can prepare for a presentation all you want, but if you show up in a low-cut shirt, no one is going to listen to what you are saying. Really think about how you want to present yourself, what your dream job is, and come up with a wardrobe that represents the best version of your future self.
2) Buy People Coffee
Not everyone has time for an hour-long lunch, but everyone can make 20 minutes for coffee... especially if you're buying. When I interned in college, I strove to meet with someone new every week. I did the same thing when I started my first full-time role. Most people are flattered you want to meet with them and love sharing advice... plus you get your name out there and can express your interests, create advocates for yourself and build your network. Just be sure to introduce yourself in the calendar invite, include why you are interested in meeting with them and come prepared with research and questions.
3) Put Chocolate on Your Desk
I actually copied this idea from my current manager. You'd be surprised to see how many people come to your office for chocolate or a "little something sweet" after lunch, and stay for a conversation or to hear what you are working on. I've made new friends, started on new projects and built solid business relationships all because I keep a bowl of Dove chocolates on my desk. And my door is always open.
4) Minimize Your Millennial-ism
My dad always told me to be the first one in the office, the last one to leave and to always keep my phone in my pocket. That advice has gotten me far and is why most people at work think I'm 5+ years older than I am... it's because you have to go against the "millennial norm." This includes waking up on time, not being on social media at work 24/7 and sometimes doing grunt work without complaining. It also means having to go above and beyond what is asked of you - do your research, come with new ideas and learn to execute those thoroughly. People will be impressed with your organization and hard work, which could result in bigger projects, more trust, job flexibility and promotions.
5) Have a Career Map
You most likely aren't going to have your dream job right out of college. And that's OK. But come up with a map to get there. What positions or skills do you need to develop to land that dream job? What relationships do you need to form to get your foot in the door of that company or that department? Some of these jobs might not be your favorite or some may require moving locations, but be open to relocation and be open to stretching yourself in a challenging role. Start planning now, so in 10 years you are a shoo-in for that dream job.