You’re never quite ready for your first 9 to 5 salary job, no matter how much you’ve prepared. Whether it’s after three back-to-back killer internships, or the first time you’ve edited your resume in 6 months, the first job can rack your nerves like no other. The pressure can be overwhelming, but here are some tips to help ease the pain.
1. Do Your Homework
Take a cue from the academic career you just left and do your homework. Research the position you want. Then research the position you’re qualified for. Then research available positions that overlap between the two. Familiarize yourself with the company culture, not only to make a good impression but also to make sure you’ll be a good fit in the team, which plays a huge role in getting you recognition and opportunities to move up.
2. Talk Yourself Up
Here’s a little secret: when you first start, you will have almost no idea what you’re doing and will have to learn as you go. Use this to your advantage and open yourself up to positions that may be a little unfamiliar – a lot of jobs require on-the-job training, and as long as you pay attention and work hard, you can do anything.
3. Problem Solving
When (and I mean when) you run into your first problem, be ready to handle it well. Only bring the problem to your supervisor AFTER you’ve done all that you can on your own to remedy the situation, AND can offer some next steps in which to solve the problem. Everyone makes at least one big mistake in the first few months of their job- the key is in taking responsibility and using the situation to prove yourself twice over by keeping your cool and knowing what to do next.
4. Breathe and Do a Victory Dance, Because You Did It!
Work is a whole different animal from school. There’s a unique satisfaction in kicking butt and making a name for yourself, especially when you’re being paid to do it. Even more so when it’s something you enjoy - and if you don’t enjoy it now, know that you’re not stuck there forever. Jobs take you to new cities, new people, and new aspirations. As with all things, it takes time to get where you want, but it’s also like riding a bike. You only need to do it once before you get the rhythm and start to simply enjoy the ride and find your pace.
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