College prepares us for a lot of things. How to live on a tight budget, clean vomit out of a rug, rig up a beer pong table using everyday household items like MacGyver, oh, and even perform feats of math with no apparent real world applications and other questionably useful academic niceties.
Yeah, being a fresh college grad, I can tell you firsthand that this is what $200K in tuition buys these days. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to go work for Daddy Co. after graduation, this isn’t really a problem. Party on. However, if you are like most kids, you’ll be graduating into a corporate hierarchy in which you are an unknown, unproven, assumed-to-be-worthless entity. There will be expectations regarding how to interact, how to work, how to dress, how to cope with problems, and your diploma will not be able to help you here. Not an enviable position by any standards.
Fortunately, there is a solution to this issue, and it comes in paperback form courtesy of co-authors Skip Lineberg and Emily Bennington. I recently had the pleasure of reading Effective Immediately, a copy of which was provided to me by Mr. Lineberg, a fellow Brand-Yourself blogger. The book is chock-full of tips for the recent grad about to enter the workforce. Basically, the idea is to set yourself apart from your peers and garner recognition by exceeding expectations. There are some things you won’t be able to control, but if you master the the little things, you will get noticed.
Here are some of my favorite tips:
-Be early! Notice the difference between this and “be on time?” Your boss will.
-Dress nicely. If you want to be taken seriously, dress seriously. Even if your company has a laid-back dress code, outdressing your peers is an easy way to get noticed. Not flashy. Just neat and clean. Always.
-Network, at work. This blog focuses a lot on social networking, and even the importance of networking events. However, if you are currently employed, your own company is a great place to start. So, in your first week, introduce yourself to as many people as you can. Seek out alumni from your school. Maybe even find a mentor. Get in with the people that will be able to help you out.
-Always have a pen and notebook with you. Lots of info is going to be thrown your way when you’re just starting out, much more than you’ll be able to remember. Write it down to avoid wasting your co-workers’ time by needing to ask repeat questions.
-Create a to-learn list. Find out which skills or knowledge areas are coveted in your organization. If you don’t have them, learn them. If you don’t have the time, add to your list and work on them whenever you can.
-Find out what your co-workers are reading outside of work. Magazines, trade journals, blogs, anything relevant to your industry or company. This will go a long way towards getting you on the same page, as quickly as possible, as the seasoned veterans, and will also put you way ahead of your peers who are learning only from brief training seminars.
Some of the advice given is quite novel. Other tips, while seemingly obvious, serve as a reminder to do the little things which you may be taking for granted, or have just forgotten about in the midst of the hectic first ever week of work! Believe me, it will be hectic, so grab a pen and paper, write this stuff down, and take it with you to work. Better yet, buy the book and have these tips, as well as countless others, at your fingertips.