Are you a first jobber after graduating? Here are some helpful steps that you can take to be a valued employee and colleague, so you hit the ground running.

Create your vision of success

futureAsk yourself,

What do I want my colleagues to be saying about me in six months’ time?

Write down a few statements about how you would like to be known and how you want to feel by then. Then work backward by asking,

What do I need to do and how do I need to be to make that happen?

Then work forward with a practical, actionable plan with clear milestones. Remember, things often change so avoid being too rigid. Be flexible and adjust your plan as you go along.

6 areas to work on

MotivationMost people at work want to work with people they like and respect and who make them feel good. Nobody wants to be around someone who is a pain or inept. Here are six areas to work on when you land that first job:

  1. Look, sound, and be the part
  2. Bring positive energy, commitment, and the best of you to work
  3. Take ownership and responsibility to build trust
  4. Shift your mindset from “Me” to “We” 
  5. Make a difference and deliver ethically
  6. Keep growing and commit to lifelong learning

Get feedback and feedforward


How will you know that people appreciate you and your contribution? Firstly, notice how people treat you. Secondly, get feedback on how you are doing and being as a first jobber, then focus on what you can do today. Ask people,

What should I continue doing? What changes could I make? How can I improve?

Avoid these first jobber pitfalls

first jobberA first jobber faces plenty of potential pitfalls when you don’t know what you don’t know. For example, it’s easy to fall into these traps:

  • Accepting a poor or absent induction
  • Waiting to be told what to do
  • Being afraid to speak up if your new job sucks or you don’t know how to do things
  • Not clarifying expectations, your job role, and development needs with your manager

So, identify colleagues you can trust as fact checkers and for advice. Also, ask for or seek a mentor to help you settle in, adjust to the culture, and make progress.

From first impressions to lasting imprint

networkedYou want your first impressions to set the tone for how people see you and to feel good about yourself. By sustaining them, those impressions become a lasting imprint of a valued colleague and employee. Therefore, as a first jobber, see it as an investment in developing your reputation for the time you are there and for long after you leave.