10 Tips on How to Be Successful at Your First Job Out of School

10 Tips on How to Be Successful at Your First Job Out of School

Your first job can be intimidating but there are several ways to set yourself up for success. Understanding what you need to do before you arrive on day one will allow you to hit the ground running. We’ve come up with our top 10 tips on how to be successful at your first job out of school.

1. Make a 90-day plan

The best way to be prepared is with a plan. Typically your supervisor will have an idea where they want your knowledge and skillset to be within 90 days on the job. Be sure to find out how success is being evaluated and what those key milestones are. Break down the goals into bite-sized pieces like 30-60-90 intervals and then even by week and day so that you can track your progress over time. Not only will this keep you on track it will also communicate to your boss that your goal-oriented, organized, and manage your time well. 

2. Seek out mentors

Your first job can seem intimidating at first but it doesn’t have to be. Spend your first few months on the job introducing yourself to new people and understand more about what they do. Let them know you’re the new person in town and your excited to pick up on the job. Chances are they’ll offer you advice and extend themselves as a resource or mentor. If not, don’t be afraid to ask them directly.

 3. Have a good attitude

Your attitude is everything. Treat each task with the utmost priority even if it seems menial to you. This is something that most team members and supervisors will pick up on quickly. I’ve seen employees move up the ranking because they took excellent meeting minutes and did a great job of disseminating that information to the team. Sometimes it’s really that simple. 

4. Understand your bosses expectations 

The faster you pick up on your boss’s preferences and expectations the better. Pay close to attention to the directions your boss offers. Don’t be afraid to ask clarifying questions if you need help, they understand it’s your first job and that you will need time to pick up on how things work. Relying on your colleagues is also a great way for you to get suggestions on how to measure up to your boss’s expectations.

 5. Avoid burnout

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you need to be the first person in the office and the last one to leave to “prove yourself” to your team. Focus more on the quality of the work you turn in and your level of efficiency at work. To avoid potential burnout put some boundaries in place like no checking emails after you’re off the clock. Build-in breaks throughout the day and strives to strike a healthy work-life balance. 

6. Be punctual and present

This may seem straightforward but many people tend to slip up with the basics. Always show up on time and be present with your work. This means being off your phone, making eye contact in meetings, and most importantly, being punctual. Remember, you’re likely the newest and youngest person on the team so you want to ensure you make good impressions early on. 

7. Be social during lunch

You can learn something from every single person on the team from the CEO to the receptionist so take the time to meet people. The more questions you ask and guidance you seek the more prepared you will be at your job no matter the role. And obviously, just have fun with it. You spend the majority of your day at work so it’s nice to be able to enjoy some fun conversation with your colleagues. 

8. Ask questions 

Trust me, everyone is expecting you to ask questions to get up to speed so take advantage of it while you’re still new. Try to minimize questions that are easily answered by a simple google search. Instead, ask questions that will provide you guidance and a better understanding of your work. There’s a learning curve to every role but asking questions can help make your experience go a lot smoother. 

9. Make yourself valuable

Doing a good job is what is expected of you, but to stand out you will have to go above and beyond the call of duty. Become comfortable taking initiative and being assertive. Find ways to make yourself useful. Is there additional work you can take on to ease your boss or team member’s burden? Help set up those meetings without being asked. By making yourself valuable to the team 

10. Ask for feedback regularly

The best way to be prepared is to know how you’re going to be evaluated. Ask management and colleagues for feedback on how you’re performing so that you can make improvements in real-time. This also communicates to your team that you’re enthusiastic about growing and improving and stay on top of your goals.

These tips are a great starting point but are sure to customize them to fit the environment and culture of your job; a clinical role will be very different from an administrative one. Now you’re all set with a plan of action to be successful at your first job out of school! Congratulations if you’ve recently landed a new role and we hope you found these tips helpful.

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About the author

Hajar Ahmed

Hajar Ahmed is a healthcare professional with a background in public health policy and management. She’s passionate about reducing health disparities and helping to implement wellness practices in everyday life. When she’s not off on a new travel adventure or cooking up a storm, she’s reading, writing, and talking healthcare.

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