Congratulations new graduates! You now have your diploma, and you’re ready for the job market. It’s an exciting time in your life, but work isn’t like school. College is a linear process whereas life is more like a video game with unexpected challenges and levels you didn’t know exist.

It’s also a time in your life when you should become independent and not count on your parents.

I remember her knocking on my door, six months into working for me, fresh from college. She told me she was enjoying her job and didn’t even mind the pay cut. I said “what?” She smiled and said her parents were good to her, covering tuition, housing, car (gas and insurance), and even provided spending money. At graduation, they told her she needed to be independent and pay for those things herself, which translated into less spending money working for me than in college.

I’ve hired, managed, and mentored many new graduates. Following are five tips to help you get started and be successful in your new career.

  1. Build relationships – Your ability to get work done with others and through others is more important than your individual skills. Building relationships inside and outside of your organization is critical to your success.

Resist the temptation to show everyone how smart you are and to make a big splash. Your new teammates won’t care about your degree, or how smart you are, at least until they know you. They want to know if you’ll be a good team member and can you be trusted.

Take time to get to know your teammates. Learn about their family. Listen to them: it’s a sign of respect. When they know you, they’ll help you in many ways

  1. Welcome feedback – Be thankful when you receive feedback. Many managers struggle to give feedback because most people aren’t good at receiving it, unless it’s positive. If not, they either try to debate the point or show, through body language, they aren’t interested. This causes managers to resist telling you what you really need to hear.

When you receive feedback, make sure you understand it. Clarifying questions are acceptable. Then thank the person for taking the time to tell you. If you’re genuinely open to feedback, you’ll get more. But please, don’t expect feedback daily or even weekly. You aren’t in school anymore.

  1. Be accountableWe live in a world where people aren’t accountable and don’t accept responsibility. When there’s a problem, it’s always “someone else’s fault.” If you are one of the few who accept personal responsibility for your actions, do what you say, you’ll set yourself apart!
  1. Be adaptable – The world where you work will constantly change, and often you won’t see it coming. Don’t be set in your ways and be resistant to change. Recognize that with every change is an opportunity, embrace it. Leaders love it when they have team members who are flexible and open to changing when needed. Be one of them.
  1. Learn how your organization makes money – An organization won’t stay in business if it loses money. If you understand how they make money, you will better understand how the work you do for the organization adds value, helps them achieve their organizational goals, and allows them to make a profit.

Enjoy your new career.

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance Proverbs 1:5





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