Most students come out of higher education ready and eager to work, but how many are actually prepared for a career?
The experience of starting a full-time job is far removed from the freedom and intellectual coaching of a classroom, so bestselling author and career adviser Randall Craig says newly hired graduates need to be ready for the paradigm shift.
“If you want to be successful in a career, you have to recognize it’s going to be a transition,” Craig said.
Unlike university or college, Craig says you shouldn’t expect to have your hand held through tasks or receive constant feedback on your progress — you’ll need to take initiative yourself. You’ve been hired for a reason, so take the bull by the horns and throw yourself into all aspects of your job with determination.
“An employer doesn’t care about you, he or she cares about how you can solve a problem. An employer wants someone who’s got passion and focus. You really want to show that they made the right decision in hiring you,” Craig said.
A little humble pie goes a long way in the workplace, especially for new hires. Don’t confuse confidence for arrogance — confidence helps you make the best use of your abilities and take the initiative, arrogance often leads to not making your best effort and seldom wins you any friends.
Chances are the people around you at work will have a lot of valuable experience to share, so be eager to learn instead of just eager to impress.
“You’ve beaten out perhaps hundreds of people to get the job, but when you start you’re at the bottom of the pole, so have a little humility. You might not be sure what success looks like and you’ll want to learn from everybody,” Craig said.
Once you get settled, Craig says a common mistake is to assume you’ll be whisked through the promotion ladder when you do well.
While every situation is different and every company has its own policies, the truth is most employers usually want new hires to stick to their given position for a couple years to see how they fare.
“In the business world there’s usually an expectation that you’ll stay in a particular role for a while, so don’t expect to move on for two or three years,” Craig said.