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When you reach your college graduation, pretty much the only thing on your mind is excitement and pride that you’re finally done with the late night study sessions, the 8 AM classes, and the stress of juggling extracurricular activities with classes and a social life. Then the job search begins. No matter how long you have to look for work or how many jobs you have to apply for, landing that first job is a huge accomplishment. It’s exciting, intimidating, and filled with unexpected challenges all at once. It can be overwhelming at first, but if you remember a few key tips for success you’ll feel more confident and actually get more out of your experience at your first job.
Being the youngest person in a meeting can be very intimidating. You sit there listening to people with years of experience talking about why they think what they think, and you feel like you could never contribute anything of value. That’s where you’re wrong! First of all, you’ve been hired for a reason. You do have valuable ideas and contributions to make.
A great first step towards holding your own in the meeting room is to just make sure you speak up at least once during every meeting. You can start small in the beginning. Try agreeing with someone and voicing why you think their idea is valid. Or try the opposite and offer a point from the other side that might challenge their idea.
To really set yourself apart, try coming up with two or three ideas of what the company could do differently or better and bring them to the meeting. It helps to have your ideas on paper, with facts to back them up. Take a minute in the meeting, if applicable, and pitch your ideas. Stay confident! You’ve done your research and believe that this could genuinely improve the company. You’ll be surprised with how open and receptive your boss could be. Speaking up in meetings is also a good way to show your company that they hired you for a reason. You’re the fresh new face, with fresh new ideas!
If you find yourself sitting at your desk, bored with the monotony of your work, take matters into your own hands. It can be frustrating to feel reliant on your superiors to give you new and interesting work all the time, especially in an entry-level position. If you have some extra time in the day, try thinking of ways to add value either within your position or beyond it. Especially in a young company, supervisors appreciate when you make use of all your time in a valuable way. If you’ve heard coworkers mention a project that they’re too busy to work on, ask if you can help. Or even better, take initiative and follow through with one of your own ideas, or do some valuable market research to present at the next meeting. There are tons of ways for you to add value not only to the company, but also to your experience while you are working there.
Leverage your youth.
While being the youngest or one of the youngest people in the office can be intimidating, it can also be freeing! Focus on the fact that you’ve got tons to learn, but make sure to stand behind your past experience as well. Being fresh out of college gives you the opportunity to ask tons of questions and figure things out for yourself without worrying that you come across as unsure or too inexperienced. You’ve already been hired, and they already know you don’t have tons of experience, so now is the time to ask a million questions and look for ways to improve your understanding of the company, the industry, and business as a whole. Not only will this help you build up confidence and experience for the future, it will also make a good impression on your employer. They will recognize that you’re striving to improve yourself and the business, and they’ll know that they made the right decision in hiring you.