10 Things You Need to Know When Starting Your First Entry-Level Job

First Entry-Level Job Knowing you’ve earned the position out of all the other applicants is definitely a great thing. However, some don’t realize that preparation is still necessary, even after getting hired. Don’t forget to be concerned about the things that await you once you’re employed. College and the work world are far different from one another.

Here are 10 things that entry-level workers should be prepare for:

Being smart is no longer enough. Sure, smart students usually get high marks in school. But now that you’re in the work world, things have changed. What you achieve in the workplace is now key. And what you accomplish is really up to you. You’ll build your reputation and career depending on your job performance.

Mistakes in school and mistakes at work have different consequences. In school, you’d only earn a low mark if you messed up a certain project. But messing up at work can affect your boss, co-workers and even the company. Remember that your colleagues can end up staying late (and end up behind in their own tasks and projects) just to fix your work.

Taking initiative is important at work. Now that you’re done turning in your homework on time, at work, start taking initiative to identify ways to drive your department’s efforts forward. Waiting around for someone to tell you what to do is not the way to excel at work.

Be straightforward. Your boss wants you to get to the point instead of delving deeply into every aspect of an issue. Remember that managers don’t have time to read multiple-page memos or lengthy emails. With problems and projects, provide short summaries with bullet points instead.

Be attentive during meetings, no matter how boring the topic is. Since you’re a junior associate, your team likely has their eyes on you. You’re expected to stay tuned in, even if you’re dying to get out of the room immediately.

Have the right attitude. Performing excellently at work is of no use if you’re rude and unprofessional. Keep in mind that you can easily be replaced by other skilled applicants if you continue to appear unfriendly, disinterested or defensive.

You’ll have to live with that salary for one year. Keep in mind that you can only ask for a raise after working for a company for at least a year. Negotiating a raise after three to six months won’t go over well with most employers. So if you think you’re getting too low of a paycheck, you’ll have to live with it for at least 365 days.

So you need to book time off during holidays. But many companies operate even during holidays — so you have to take into consideration that you don’t just get a week off because of the date on the calendar.

Two weeks is the most time you can take off at once. Lengthy vacations like the breaks you enjoyed in school may be a thing of the past once you’re employed. Many times, two weeks is the full amount of vacation time you’re given in a year. So if you decide to take leave for two weeks, remember that could be it for the year — so plan wisely.

A 30-minute lunch hour. In many workplaces, 30 minutes is the maximum you can take for lunch. That’s why most employees just grab something and eat it on the go since they don’t have time to savor their meals.

Now that you’re more aware of what to expect when employed, keep these tips in mind to avoid performing poorly at work.

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Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.