Advice for 2013 Graduates

Graduation

You’re about to graduate with a degree and are probably eager to share your vast knowledge with your future employer. That’s great! Find a way to keep that enthusiasm while you learn the ropes of your field and job. Take time to learn not only the industry you’ll work in, but the office politics, the major players in the field and in your office and where you are the most talented.

Take a step back and observe before you jump in head first. You’re probably well-versed in the latest and greatest methods and systems, but your office might not be there yet. Be patient. Learn the ways and processes in your office and then make suggestions. Don’t try to change things too quickly, but at the same time stay eager, excited and current. You might hear the phrase, but this is how we’ve always done it. Instead of hearing that as, we’re never going to change, hear it as change will be gradual. If you pay attention to your coworkers you might see someone roll their eyes at this comment. Befriend that person. Talk to your supervisor about implementing minor changes slowly.

There’s a fine line between being smart and being a smart aleck. Always err on the side of caution. Don’t be afraid to show you know math, statistics and basic (or advanced!) science and don’t be afraid to share your knowledge of colors, design and marketing principles. But at the same time don’t show off just to show someone else up. You’ll never regret being kind, but you will likely regret being a jerk.

Don’t check out too early. The skills you learn as an entry-level employee go far beyond changing paper in the copier and the right way to respond to email. You’ll learn how to interact with a wide range of personalities. You’ll learn what your limits are and when to extend them. You’ll learn how to be a professional and that’s priceless.

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