Getting your first job after graduation is probably one of the most exhilarating moments. You worked tirelessly for four years, maybe more, to get your degree. You’ve pulled all-nighters studying, you’ve most likely held an internship or two to get some real life experience in your field, and you’ve counted down until you could have a “real job.” Well now the time has come, and you landed that coveted full-time job. This job might not be your favorite, and you probably won’t be there until you retire. Most likely it isn’t the exact job you want. But your first job out of college can teach you more than you realize, and you should utilize this time to prepare for the rest of your career.
Learn how to be an asset, not just a contributor. Look for ways to solve problems that your co-workers and even your boss might not have noticed. The ability to seamlessly navigate through problem solving is something that all companies find valuable. The way you execute the solution can show employers a lot about your work ethic.
Be personable and positive. This seems obvious, but it doesn’t always come that easily. You don’t want to be pegged as the person who is constantly complaining about tasks they have to complete or is always in a sour mood. Leave your problems at the door and be a cheerful worker. No matter how frustrated you might get at work because of a lousy customer or co-worker, keep your cool. This will speak volumes to your bosses.
Show an interest in learning more. Ask about ways you can improve what you’re doing, and seek advice from colleagues. Learn as much as your job is willing to teach you. You can never know too much and these skills will often help you down the road.
It’s important to be a team player. During your time at your first job, you’ll want to showcase your abilities and sometimes want a little praise, but this can come off as arrogant. Give credit where it’s due, and work to make your whole team and company look good. Your co-workers will appreciate your attitude and the right people will notice what you are accomplishing even if you aren’t telling them directly.
Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes help you learn. Don’t beat yourself up, after all, this is your first foray into the working world. Ask how you could have avoided the mistake and move on in a positive way.
Establish goals you want to accomplish. It could be in your current job, down the road in your career, or in life in general. Having goals in mind will help you focus during your first job to insure you make the most out of this experience. So go ahead and apply for your first job right here at to job applications and begin your new career.