Today’s talent market is flooded with new graduates just starting out in their first jobs. These graduates have a huge opportunity in front of them—as well as some challenges. Here are the six most common mistakes new grads make when looking for or working in their first full-time position.
Not Networking Enough
Networking can be intimidating. Especially for a generation accustomed to socializing through phones and computers. But making the initiative to talk with someone in your field may be more beneficial down the road than you would expect. The best opportunity to connect with your peers (and potential mentors) is to join networking organizations. Many fields and industries have professional or trade associations for this purpose. Allow yourself to gain a deeper understanding of what it’s like to work in the industry by connecting with others.
Failing to Ask Questions
The biggest mistake new hires make? According to 43 percent of advertising and marketing executives, it’s not asking enough questions. Asking for clarification lets your superior and peers know that you are eager to learn, while also being confident enough to ask for help. Be sure to make the effort to learn from a coworker or your manager when starting a new job. (You can also reach out to someone you met while networking!)
Back in school, students might have been able to put off a task until the deadline was near. This was fine because the only person it affected was you. But when you join a company, everyone in your team suffers when tasks aren’t completed on time. New graduates need to take responsibility and consider how actions (or in this case, inaction) affect their colleagues.
Not Being a Team Player
No longer working toward an individual goal, it is time for graduates to change their mindset to a team mentality. Adapting and conforming to a company’s culture will put you ahead in becoming a true asset to the team. Your contributions affect the majority and should support the best interest of the company. It is important for new graduates to help any way they can, to add value by bringing a fresh perspective to the team.
Not Voicing Your Opinion
New graduates working their first job may find themselves sitting in a meeting with top management. Take advantage of these opportunities! Relevant ideas can impress work superiors, especially if you are a new hire. Remember, you were hired to bring your ideas to the table. New graduates should also take the time to affirm a coworker’s idea or ask a pertinent question.
Treating Work Projects Like School Assignments
After being in school, new grads tend to treat their work projects like school assignments. This is only natural for someone who just spent 16 years being a good student. However, it is time to switch gears and acclimate to the much longer timeline that work projects can have. This can be due to several factors: Some projects can be ambiguous, requiring more research and discussion to iron out. Some may be more collaborative with other people, thus involving a lot of wait time. Sometimes the end goal is a year away. You will also be expected to take it upon yourself to translate the spoken and written feedback a manager gives and learn how to piece it all together.
Not Following Up
Employers can be forgetful or just get busy. That’s why following up after a job interview will ensure that they know who you are and won’t forget to take you into consideration. This advice is especially important after an interview. Employers like to be appreciated and a quick “thank you” email is a good way to show you value their time and the opportunity. Following up also gives you a chance to ask any questions you did not have the chance during the interview.
In this tight talent market, employers are spending more and more time trying to hire the right person. Remember these tips to make sure that you are delivering the best you possibly can.