How to Excel in Your First Job After Graduation

Three smiling young people sitting with laptops

You landed your first job, hey! Kudos! Welcome to adulthood. First jobs are like your first love – you never forget it, and it’s bound to end. Easy? Rarely. First jobs are a big deal, and here’s why. It’s our first head-on collision with the practical, empirical side of our naive, young, and inexperienced self—a challenge. Our first job is where we shift from the theoretical inclination to practice.

We’re in the game; we are the game; it can be a frightening and often overwhelming cognition. The experience is our sneak peek, preview, the Introduction to the full-time working cosmos. The vast machinery of conquest, self-realization, and climbing the diffuse ladder. Options, future. Trajectory. – But, first things first. That is how to excel in your first job after graduation. Show them how it’s done, first-timers.

Ride the “low expectations” wave

Your first job position is a safe bubble where “trial and error” is anything but frowned upon. It is expected. You’ve just stepped out of the college boat straight into the grown-up wilderness. – But, there are no high expectations since college graduates typically begin their careers at entry-level positions, meaning: minimal requirements.

This can be used to your advantage. Nobody’s expecting a miracle – but you can certainly find a way to shine. And learn – a lot. Remember, every experience is valuable; as a first-timer, you will have the opportunity to get acquainted with different communication styles, “the corporate pyramid” scheme, workplace dynamics, and policies. Most importantly, you will get to understand your career preferences. Your first job can ultimately guide you to changing your career path.

No shame in asking

College graduates are known to shy away from asking their superiors too many questions. “School’s over.” Yes, you’re not in the classroom anymore. However, you shouldn’t stop asking questions. Questions lead to answers – we need them to better understand our job and excel. We cannot stress this enough: communication is key to achieving success, whether it’s your first or your twenty-second job.

Getting over the initial anxiety about “being too much” is crucial. You’re there to learn, and your peers and superiors are there to help. A perfect match. Success doesn’t come from being an all-wise being (frankly, it’s irritating) but from our ability to cooperate and communicate with others. That’s how we learn; by not being afraid or ashamed to ask questions. Tips on how to ask:

Ask your superior about their preferred method of communication so that you can get the desired response faster.

●     Consider suggesting a meeting with your superior and ask if you should send the questions beforehand.

●     There’s no shame in writing down questions. Keep a list as a reminder.

●     Be on point with your questions. There are very few fans of lengthy prologues. Be specific, whether it’s feedback or advice.

●     Don’t save questions for later. If appropriate, ask immediately. Human beings tend to forget things.

Hard work

You know it. If you want to excel in your first job after graduation, you have to do the work. As a recent graduate, experience is probably not your biggest forte. So, what can you bring to the big girls’ and boys’ table? – Effort. Leaving a good, intense, even (within socially acceptable norms, of course) impression is everything. That’s your springboard. Create momentum. Start the moment you set foot in that office.

You’re not trying to turn your latest hobby into a career; you’re trying to turn your job into an ever-ascending professional trajectory. (we support hobbies, too.) It’s your first ever team: show them what you’re made of. First one in – last one out. Volunteer and take on side projects. Do it with enthusiasm. Yes, overextending yourself isn’t the most pleasurable, but you’re young. And it’s worth it. Every experience is a good experience—especially the tough ones.

The elephant in the room: Feedback

Although not the most pleasurable experience, constructive criticism is paramount for personal and professional growth. More importantly -young egos can take it. Feedbacks represent an invaluable opportunity for learning from our mistakes. So, to thrive, active listening is simply – a must. Receiving feedback from your colleagues or superiors can sting, especially if there are negative remarks regarding your work, but give it time.

They’re merely trying to help you improve and maximize your potential. When it gets rough, remember: feedback is benevolent at its core. – Sulking is not an option. Show appreciation and ask for further clarification. Take notes, even. Take the initiative and check in with your manager regularly. Show interest in their assessment of your work. That way, you do not fear criticism but rather welcome it. (of course, you’ll have to implement it)

Information is everything

Keeping up with the ever-changing business world is your go-to imperative. “Keep up!” Or lag and be forgotten. Staying informed with industry trends is vital for your professional success. “Oh, but I can’t; I work remotely from my studio apartment, and all I want to do is get out of the house when I clock out.” – Oh, but you must. It’s your first job. Make an effort, remember? For instance, set a space to work in and make it a habit to read relevant news. Subscribe. Newsletters are your besties. Stay in the loop.

Network, forever

First job or dream job, networking is king. Introverted? Sorry, it’s still mandatory. Networking is the heart of every standing business individual today. It allows us to meet people inside and outside our current industry. It also creates room for building relevant relationships; it encourages us to grow,  learn, obtain clients, and stay on top of our professional game. If you’re well-connected, the possibilities are endless—new business partners, new career paths, or moving abroad. Start today. Network.

Final thoughts on how to excel in your first job after graduation

The truth? Nobody’s forcing you to excel in your first job after graduation. “It’s just not working out for me.” – Hey, that’s fine, too. Most of today’s graduates will leave their first job within a year. Or less! If you feel dissatisfied, saying ” I resign ” is absolutely okay. Thank you for the experience.” – The best part? You’re not even lying. Remember: every experience is a valuable lesson.

About the Author

Nisar Sipra

An SEO, Blogger, and Digital Marketing specialist. He is also a dedicated educationist with over 12 years of experience. Passionate about advancing educational content digitally, he focuses on elevating organizational efficiency and promoting digital literacy. Committed to aligning online educational resources with search engine standards for a valuable and authoritative presence.

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