So many times in my career as a student and as a professional, I have been educated on things that I should do to do be a better professional. There were some things that no one ever told me NOT to do and I had to learn then from experience. I want to share with you a couple of the things that I have learned in my first year out in the real world.
5. Don’t respond to emails too fast. More often than not, when sitting at my desk I find myself needing to respond to emails quickly and start providing value or solving the dilemma. This can make a person quite overwhelmed if you get 50 emails an hour. I learned that if I respond to emails quickly all the time that sets the expectation with clients and colleagues. More often than not – the emails will solve their own problems if I just let other people respond. I recommend checking your email every 15 minutes at most. If there is something that needs YOUR immediate attention, react. If you know there is another member of the email string that can answer, allow it to happen.
4. Don’t get too comfortable. I started my job as a very reserved and professional ‘young professional’. The more I got comfortable, the more I started to loosen up. This was good to some degree but you need to remember to be mindful of your surroundings and the impression you are trying to set. Be comfortable with friends at work but remind yourself ‘If this person had to report to me someday, would I have wanted them to hear that comment I made or reaction?’
3. Don’t forget to network. Just because you landed that job doesn’t mean that your network can not provide any value and that you should not continue to build it. As many wise people say – your network is your networth. If you need to go the extent of putting a reminder in Outlook urging you to reach out and communicate with your network; do so. Set up lunches, have a quick touchbase, give someone a call.
2. Don’t forget to save. For most people saving is hard. When you first start out it is probably pretty likely that you have whatever is left over from your last shuffle and what you get from your last security deposit on your final apartment. If you do not start saving early, it becomes very difficult to start later. I recommend starting with your first paycheck and either doing a direct deposit from your paycheck to your savings or transferring as little as $5 – whatever you can afford.
1. Don’t expect direction to be spelled out. I have seen many young people and have done this myself. Coming out of school, we expect the directions to be all laid out and clear for any project or task. While you will receive some direction, rarely will the project be laid out completely. Look at it as an opportunity to reach out and network to make the project yours. It is an opportunity to make it your own.
Written By: Amy Rotella, TSC 2009