College Graduates…More Top Tips So You Don’t Derail Your Career

Last week, I started a thread of the Top Seven Tips for College Graduates. Here are the remaining tips:

  1. Respect all employees regardless of their title.

You’ll probably interact with a secretary during the interview process; be nice! If she likes you, your life will be much easier.

The secretaries you interact with elsewhere in your company, or in other companies you do business with, are also to be respected and seen.

Janitors, the mailroom person, the CEO…treat everyone the way you want to be treated and you can neither be accused of being a snob or a suck-up.

  1. Be a team player.

Offer to help others with their projects; take on tasks no one else wants; work on a weekend every now and then…these are all great ways to be a team player.

If you have an issue with a co-worker, be mature enough to have a conversation to iron things out. If you make a mistake, say you’re sorry.

Also, give praise where it’s due—make it specific, appropriate, and heartfelt. If a co-worker conducts 15 minutes of research for you that allows you to complete a report on time, mention it in a staff meeting and watch the co-worker glow. If a co-worker does something much more significant and time-consuming, perhaps treating him or her to lunch would be an appropriate thank you.

  1. Cultivate an outstanding reputation.

All of these points are pieces of the puzzle for polishing your professional reputation. Here are some more:

Deliver quality results on time and within budget. If either of these pieces is missing, your reputation will suffer.

Speak with professionalism. What you say, and how you say it, has a huge effect on how others perceive you.

Be known as a hard worker. Lazy is a huge career derailer.

Don’t gossip. I can’t emphasize this one enough.

Clean up your social presence. I could spend an hour telling you about people whose careers were derailed by inappropriate photos on Facebook…it’s time to audit your online presence and clean up your act.

  1. Network, network, network.

Don’t spend your lunch cooped up in your office; go out with the group after work every once in a while.

Are there affinity groups you can participate in through work? Could you get involved in the Chamber of Commerce through your employer?

There are lots of ways to network, and what is best for you depends on your field, your employer, your personality, and your availability. But you really MUST network.

As a job search coach, I speak with clients every day who have let their networks go fallow for years. Now that they are actively job searching, they are essentially rebuilding their network from scratch.

Did Noah wait until the rains started to build the ark? Nope – he was out there in the sunshine. People must have thought he was crazy, but think about who ended up where at the end of that story. ‘Nuff said.

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