Guest Post: Wes Harrison ...

I realize that, being in the "50 to Death" demographic, I've got a bit of a perceptual bias against stories for the newly graduated.  Heck, I think they all should go get Masters and Doctorates and stay out of the job market until I've gotten hired someplace! Probably want 'em to stay off my lawn too, if I had a lawn.

Anyway, I was queried by the folks at New-Jersey-Colleges.com (which bills itself as presenting "a new way of finding information on colleges, universities, and trade schools" providing a detailed look at each school with their proprietary "Fingerprinting" technique) if I'd be interested in having one of their writers do a piece for a guest post here; and while I pointed out that the main thrust of The Job Stalker was the Chicago market, and that stories for new grads were not what I tended towards, I told them that if it was generally applicable, I'd be happy to run it.  This was written by Wes Harrison, whose area of specialization is "providing sound advice to those making the jump from school to the job pool" based on a background in college and career topics.  

So, here's Wes' advice for those just out of school ...

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College graduates: your entry-level job
is more important than you think it is!

by Wes Harrison

You just graduated from college, full of knowledge and enthusiasm. Instead of getting a corner office with a great view you're offered an entry-level job and a cubical. Don't pout! Take advantage of the situation. Impress your boss and go beyond your job duties.

Even if your dream job is with another company, excellent work habits and high praise from former bosses puts you on the right path to obtain it. Don't be discouraged by your entry-level job; instead, think of it as a great opportunity. Here are some tips to help you go from an entry-level job to your dream job:

  • Be an exemplary employee: Be the employee who works hard, is self-motivated, shows up on time and is reliable. Be the employee who cares about the company, its goals, and overall success. Be a team player.
  • Know your boss: Learn what your boss values and what you can do to help him be successful.
  • Network: Make connections at work, especially with managers. If you deal with people outside of the company, develop relationships with them. Networking can lead to a better job down the road.
  • Don't watch the clock: When appropriate, put in some overtime or work on weekends without being asked. Offer to take on extra projects. You'll be noticed for the extra work.
  • Don't treat your job like a chore: Have a positive attitude about the job and the company. A positive attitude will help you get promoted.
  • Good relationships: A highly productive employee who doesn't foster good relationships at the workplace is not going to get promoted. Be nice, be respectful, and don't get involved in office politics.
  • Be flexible: Be willing to take on tasks that are outside of your job description, especially if you work in a small company. Impress your employer by being creative and coming up with innovative ways to accomplish tasks. If you don't like an assignment, try not to be grumpy!
  • Be entrepreneurial: Growing companies groom entrepreneurial-type employees for management positions. Show your entrepreneurial side at the workplace.
  • Show that you're results-oriented: Results-oriented employees typically end up on the short list for promotions. Companies look for employees who can resolve problems and complete tasks.
  • Responsibility: Employees who willingly take on additional responsibility are more likely to get the next promotion.

Take advantage of your entry-level position. It's an important step in the journey to your dream job.

Wes Harrison writes feature articles about the college
 (and post-college) experience for New-Jersey-Colleges.com.

Again, this is advice that pretty much anybody hitting the job market would do well to heed.  I've been amazed (and not in a good way) at feedback that I've gotten from college-age folks (who are actually working hard at finding jobs) about friends of theirs who really don't much "get" the concept of having a real job.  I suppose that could be a subject for a later post!

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