Wednesday, May 21, 2014

College to Career: Landing the Job! Part 1

Congratulations! You’ve landed a great job with a great company, and are ready to put all of the knowledge and skills gained in your classes and internships into action. You will always remember your first day at your first “real” job…so, you will want to be prepared and make the most of it! 

There are several things to consider before your first day. Following are 10 things to help you prepare for your first day (and month) in your new job:

1. Ask about company culture in advance. If you had an in-person interview, you likely got a feel for the dress code and overall company culture. However, don’t be afraid to ask in advance so you arrive prepared. Also ask about arrival time, parking and if you need to bring anything (like identification, birth certificates, etc.) on your first day.
2. Get a good night sleep and eat a balanced breakfast in the morning. Your parents were right! A good night sleep and breakfast will keep you going strong for the day. If you’ve never worked full-time before, this will be a new experience for you. Be sure to have coffee or tea on hand if you need it!
3. Do a test drive of your route and show up at least 10 minutes early. Your commute may be different during rush hour. If you are able, do a test run on a weekday morning. Arrive early on your first day so you have time to get settled in and introduce yourself to your coworkers. 
4. Prepare a brief introduction. You will likely meet several people on your first day and they will ask you about yourself, your background and your position within the company. 
5. Do your homework. If there were qualifications or skills on the job description you were lacking, research how you can improve in those areas. Review the company website and/or its competitors. 
6. Understand company policies/rules. Check the company website in advance; you may be able to review the employee handbook. If not, ask what the rules are regarding things like cell phone and internet usage on company time, personal breaks, etc. Keep your cell phone on silent or vibrate, and don’t text unless absolutely necessary or you are on a break.
7. Listen, not just with your ears but with your body language. Listening and observing will help you see the big picture of the organization and its culture. Be prepared for meetings and trainings. Take lots of notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. 
8. If asked to lunch, go! Pack a lunch (preferably in a cooler in case there isn’t a fridge), but go out if you are asked. It is important to build relationships and appear engaged with your supervisor/co-workers. 
9. Be yourself, but be mindful of what you share. Be personable, polite, conversational and friendly, but don’t share too much information about your personal life, health or politics.
10. Relax. You were hired because the employer saw talent and great potential. Be confident and enjoy this time. You will only experience your first day in your first “real” job once, so enjoy it!

You should treat your first month or two as though you are still being interviewed. Look professional and be professional. Many companies have orientation periods, and your performance is being evaluated on a daily basis. Treat this time as though you are still interviewing with the company. It is easy to get comfortable, especially if you are in a friendly and welcoming work environment, but you don’t want to get too comfortable. Good luck, have fun and Do Good!

Melissa Less Eckenrode, Gamma Epsilon-Kent State, graduated in 2003. She landed her first job with Delta Gamma as a Collegiate Development Consultant. She then worked as a Resource Development Manager for Modis, recruiting IT professionals across the United States. Melissa came back to Delta Gamma Executive Offices in 2007 as the Director of Human Resources. In this role she supports all HR functions of the EO staff, including staffing, benefits, payroll, compensation, performance reviews, etc.

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