Takeaways from your first year on the job
You landed your first “big girl” job and made it an entire year. Go ahead, congratulate yourself! Getting the one-year notch in your belt is a respectable achievement. As you reflect on this time, here are some takeaways to learn from the first year on the job.
1. You’re no longer a recent grad.
It’s time to drop the line, “I just graduated from…” You didn’t just graduate, so take this out of your elevator speech. Of course, you should be proud of the education and internship experience earned while at your alma mater. But that time is gone. You’ve learned what to do and what not to do, so you can’t hide behind post-graduation days.
2. Mark your milestones.
Before your one-year review, go through your previous employee reviews and take notes. What have you done well? If you received criticism, what did you do to improve? Having a track record is proof of your progress and shows that you are serious about a promotion. If you haven’t been marking your progress, do so retroactively.
3. Know your colleagues.
Hopefully after working for a year, you know more about your coworkers than just their names and job roles. Understand what their work style is. Be thoughtful when they share their family activities and hobbies. Having a deep-rooted bond with your colleagues (and not just your boss) will allow for good work relationships and opportunities to participate in bigger projects.
4. Mentors are great people.
They really are awesome. Think of the times you’ve confided, asked questions or had your work looked over; you couldn’t be happier about having someone to help guide you. If you don’t have an official mentor, you’ve most likely had at least one person who has taken on a coaching role. Meet with that person often, and be sure to say thank you. He or she will continue to be a great resource, even if you later decide to take a position elsewhere.
5. Always take the high road.
People aren’t always nice, but you knew that already. You know how it feels to be talked about or to have someone else take credit for your work. That doesn’t mean you have to lower the bar for yourself. Your ambition and drive will help you become a successful leader, so always take the high road. You will never be criticized for staying out of office politics, we promise.
6. Know what it means to learn the ropes.
It’s ok to not know how to do everything, as long as your process on learning new things has gotten better. It may have taken some trial and error, but you’ve become a pro at finding solutions quickly and giving good recommendations. It’s highly desirable to be a teachable young professional with a willingness to learn. Being the go-to person for a new program or piece of technology is a needed skill.
7. Make new goals.
Are you ready for the next step? Is the next position something you are working toward? If so, make sure you and your supervisor have set clear objectives for your career path. You should meet sub-goals every few months and track progress. If you are meeting goals regularly and still feel like you’re being held back, then maybe it’s time to look for the next opportunity.
What you do with your career is up to you, no matter what stage you’re at. By realizing how far you’ve come and knowing what to improve on, you will continue to make strides.
Now, go blow out your candle, and keep up the good work!