Did you just land your first job out of college? You’re probably excited and proud — and you should be. But you’re probably also nervous to set foot into the professional realm for the first time.
Don’t be. Everyone has to start somewhere. Here are nine tips that no one tells you about in school but will prep you for your first real job.
1. Show up on time — or even earlier
You might have been able to stroll into class whenever you wanted to. But unless your company has embraced flexible schedules, show up on time every day. Better yet, show up 10 or 15 minutes early — and that includes meetings too.
2. Be a professional
You’re not at a frat party anymore, so leave the crass jokes and inappropriate behavior at the door. You're also not at a pity party, so don't sulk at your desk and whine to your coworkers about how hungover you are. Grab a coconut water and just power through the day.
3. School is out, but you still have to learn
Just because you have a degree — or even a few of them — doesn’t mean your education is over. Try to learn as much as you can from both your more veteran coworkers and on your own. Stay up to date with the lastest industry news and shut down that millennial stereotype of needing your hand held every day.
4. Understand your flaws
Even if you’ve landed the most lucrative entry-level position in the world, odds are you’re still at the bottom rung of the ladder at your organization. You aren’t the best at everything. The sooner you realize which areas of your skill set need improvement, the quicker you’ll be able to reach your full potential at your new gig.
5. Build relationships with your coworkers
You don’t go to work to make friends. But it certainly doesn’t hurt if you do: our Employee Engagement report shows that colleagues are the number one reason why employees love their job. When you’re friends with at least a few of your coworkers, work becomes that much more enjoyable. So start the relationship off on the right foot by showing them you're a hard worker.
6. Steer clear of gossiping
Do you absolutely hate one or two of your new coworkers? Congratulations! You’re a human being. Rather than talking about those folks behind their backs with your new colleagues — and proving that you don’t really deserve to be trusted — internalize all those thoughts and rant to your non-work buddies at the bar after quitting time if you must.
7. Have confidence in your abilities
There is a reason you beat out however many other applicants there were for your new position: Your employer thinks you’re talented. Never forget that. Figure out what your strengths are, and be confident in them. If you’re an imaginative graphic designer, for example, thoroughly unleash your design skills. Don’t be timid.
8. Be proactive
Sure, you’re a new hire. You need to listen to your manager and follow directions. But after you get your feet wet in your new position — say you’ve been there a couple days or a couple weeks — it’s time to become proactive. Instead of waiting for assignments to be thrown your way, ask your coworkers whether they need your help. You can also brainstorm new ideas and share them with your team. Your boss and teammates will definitely appreciate it.
9. Don’t brag
Nobody likes an arrogant coworker. Even if you’re the best at what you do, it pays to show humility. When you do well, be sure to thank your coworkers who’ve helped you. Don’t take all the credit yourself.
Being the new kid at the office can be tricky, particularly when you’re starting your first “real” job. But by being conscientious and keeping the above tips in mind, you’ll fit right in — and quickly.