5 Tips to Start Your First Job Right

If you’re a December graduate, chances are you will be starting your first “real” job in the next few months. As that first big day approaches, you’re likely reading up on the company and learning everything you can about what to expect – and that’s perfect! Here are five tips to help once you get in the door and seek to make a great first impression.

1)  Make Introductions

On your first day, you will likely be taken on a tour of the office and be introduced to everyone who crosses your path. This can be overwhelming as you try to remember every person’s name and their role. So, bring a notepad with you and write down the names of those whom you will be working directly – or, ask your boss for a list of names at the end of the day.

Once you know who you will be working with regularly, request time with each individual to better introduce yourself and learn more about their role in the department. You don’t need a lot of time – perhaps 15-25 minutes. Use this time to share your background and discuss how you hope to contribute to the department as well as to learn more about your colleagues, their roles and how you can work together.

2)  Learn from others

As you get to know your team, you will quickly discover individuals who have much to teach you about the department, the company or your industry. Take time to seek their input on projects and learn from their experiences. Also, you may consider seeking a mentoring relationship with someone on your team. Having a mentor can be a great way to learn company knowledge quickly and provide you with someone to serve as a guide as you build your career with the company.

3)  Encourage Change with Respect

It is likely that after you get into your role, you may feel the urge to change processes or establish what you consider a better way to accomplish things. As you seek to encourage change, remember that long-standing processes were often developed with certain goals or intentions.

Before suggesting a change, learn the history behind the project and consider the impacts of your suggestions. Often college graduates are hired for their fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, so you’re likely to be met with a receptive audience … but remember to respect those who developed the existing way of doing things. Present your ideas clearly with an eye on the end results.

4)  Stay Organized

Being successful in your new job will likely require that you manage a number of tasks, deadlines and responsibilities. To keep up with it all, you’ll need to have an organized e-mail inbox and use your calendar effectively. You’ll also want to use a task management tool or simply keep a notepad list of tasks, projects and other to-do list items.

5)  Take Notes

Just like in class, you’ll want to take notes throughout your early days and especially during all meetings. Write down important news, the names of people you may want to connect with after a meeting and/or ideas that come to mind as you work through your day. Your notebook can be a valuable tool in staying organized and in completing current and future tasks.

Even now, when I attend meetings I carry a 6×9 inch notebook with me to jot down ideas, reminders and other key information for future use. Another tool I’ve been using more and more lately is Microsoft’s One Note software – it’s a great electronic notebook tool that I can sync with my Microsoft Sky Drive and access on all of my mobile devices. This is great if I need to look up information on the go.

Starting your first job is very exciting! Taking the time to meet the right people and staying organized will help you start off on the right foot. For even more tips about managing your first days on the job, check out this article: 30 tips for 30 days.


Trish is a senior communications manager for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a member of the marketing and communications team for Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition department since 2010, Trish is an employment expert who aims to educate job candidates about the hiring process, networking opportunities and the culture of Sodexo. A graduate of Marist College (BA – Psychology) and the University of Southern Mississippi (MS – Public Relations), Trish has never been far from the classroom. As a former adjunct professor for the College of Charleston and professional advisor for the college’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, she enjoys helping students reach for their potential and guide them through the process of preparing for their future careers. A lover of technology and gadgets, cookies, chocolate and baking, Trish spends most of her free time raising two small children and competing with husband to obtain the most stamps in her National Parks Passport book. Feel free to connect with Trish or learn more about careers at Sodexo.

Related posts:

  1. College Seniors, Start Now
  2. Tips for Introductions and Networking Offline
  3. 5 Tips to Hit the Ground Running after Graduation

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