So you've just graduated college, or you're about to graduate, and now you're starting your first job. Stepping into your first real job can be overwhelming at times, and you can feel as if every choice you make might have a lasting impact on your new career. Fortunately, others have gone before you and left good advice. Take a look at some of the things many people wish they'd known before starting their first job.
"I Wish I'd Focused on Building Relationships"
You already know you need to network to get ahead as you start your first job, but you need more than basic networking. Keep lists of everyone you have contact with and who might be able to help move you forward. Take the time to build relationships with these people, asking them to lunch and seeking their advice. As you keep building that list of contacts, you're better positioned to grow in your career.
"I Wish I'd Taken More Risks"
All too often, people in their first job are afraid to make mistakes, which makes them afraid to take risks. However, playing it safe all the time means you're never going to be creative, you're unlikely to catch the eye of the people who can help you advance, and you won't grow as an employee or as a person. Weigh the risks you take, but do take them.
"I Wish I Hadn't Cared So Much About What Everyone Else Was Doing"
When you start your first job, it's probably the first time you've stepped out on your own, away from the cohort and companionship you experienced all through high school and college. Because of this, it's all too tempting to pay attention to what all your friends are doing. Don't compare your journey to anyone else's, even if you're in an internship while someone else has a big paycheck, an assistant and an office with a window. Your career path is yours alone, and comparisons are only likely to steer you off the path.
"I Wish I'd Known I Could Negotiate"
You might be so glad to get a decent first job offer right out of school that you say yes without even thinking about the details. However, many employers fully expect to make adjustments to that job offer. Maybe you could get a higher starting salary, better working conditions or improved benefits. All the employer can do is say no, and if it says yes, you're starting off even better than expected.
Get your new career off on the right foot when you pay attention to the advice of people who have gone before you. Keep your eyes on your goals as you start your first job, making the right connections, staying focused, and taking calculated risks rather than playing everything safe, and you should be well-prepared for the next big step, whether it's a promotion or your next job.
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