J Patrick + Associates Blog

How To: Advice You Need to Know That Will Help in Your First Job

Posted by Nicholas Stearns on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 @ 11:00 AM


You’ve gone through the whole hiring process. You sent in your resume, got a call, went to the in-person interview, and finally got hired. Now, the hard part starts. Perhaps you've had counseling at your college's career office from working professionals, but there several things you won't be taught in school. Here are some tips to get you ready for work as a recent college grad:


8:30 Means 8:30

College life isn’t exactly the hardest hitting when it comes to punctuality. In a world where professors are busier than students, it wouldn’t be inconceivable for class to start five to ten minutes late while the teacher gets everything set up. But that rule does not extend to you once you’re out in the work force. In the office, 8:30 means 8:30. The laptop is on, the app is open, the pad is on the table and the pen is poised. your You will be on time every day, even if you have to set five alarms to make certain you’re on time. Punctuality not only sends the message that you take your job seriously, it also sets you up for a more productive day.


Business Casual is Exactly That: Business and Casual

Students don’t dress well. Four years of sweats and hoodies don’t exactly ingrain a fashion sense into someone. So make sure you dress for your job. Your interview was a great time to do some recon work and see what the office’s tone is. While you certainly need to honor your own sense of style, the office is not the place to stand out. It may be the case that some offices require a suit every day, though many don’t. So watch what your boss is wearing, and go from there.


Separation of Church and State:

Water cooler discussion is all right. In fact, there are a number of reasons it’s encouraged. So feel free to talk about your life and experiences, and hear your colleagues’. But remember, there is a difference between what is and isn't acceptable to share. College is a place where boundaries are thin to non-existent. Boundaries are clear and should be well respected in the office. Not everyone wants or needs to know all the gory details of your encounters last Friday night. Save it for after work. Understanding how to comport yourself in the office is vital to your success


Communicate, and Communicate Well:

Catching a bit of a theme here? Communication is one of the biggest complaints that companies have with recent graduates. Years of speaking with no one but other college students in a closed arena aren’t the most conducive to producing well-adjusted communication skills. Be ready to learn how to type an email, prepare a proper presentation, and even speak in a professional setting.


Think Critically:

Most colleges are teaching graduates how to study and reiterate information, but critical thinking seems to have been abandoned by the wayside. Second to communication skills is the complaint that college students don’t have this ability. They know where to find the information, they just don’t know what to do with it once they do. So be ready to face this problem head on. Request a walkthrough on what you’re going to face every day, be it data analysis or writing a simple report.


Patience is Key:

Of all the problems you may face, the biggest one will be your own impatience. You may see your career path laid out so clearly. You know where you want to get to, but remember a few speed bumps are to be expected, no one is perfect. You’re going to make mistakes, or at least we hope you will.

The best thing you can do is be open and ready to help solve problems, and remain open to unexpected opportunities. A career is built step by step, keep your eyes and ears open and your nose to the grindstone.


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