The transition from college to the working world can be daunting so I’ve compiled a list of “best practices” I’ve learned through my years working at various companies and in positions as a student leader.
1. Be the best emailer
Early on I was told to “be a professional emailer”. To me that meant always addressing my audience appropriately and using “professional” language. I soon found out that even more importantly than that, was timeliness of emails. As a young business professional, with your first job in the corporate or startup world, you quickly realize that email efficiency is key. Know when to email someone, how long your email should be, and how much time to wait until you reply. Timely responses show organization and can prove a strong work ethic.
2. Build a professional network
This one seems to be a no-brainer. Connecting and networking with people in your area who are both influential and have a strong network can greatly benefit you in the long run. Building a page on LinkedIn now, for example, will help you two years down the road because your page will have organically grown with endorsements, connections and recommendations, all of which are key when looking for a job!
3. Offer your help (even with no immediate return)
In any situation, offer to help those around you. Whether it’s helping promote an event on social media, offer a connection to a job or even stuff nametags for an event. These little acts don’t go unnoticed and it could mean the difference between receiving a professional recommendation or not.
4. Welcome criticism
Criticism is always hard to take, even if it’s in a constructive way. Through various roles in student-led groups and in professional settings I have found that welcoming constructive criticism has both improved working relationships and helped me learn exponentially more. Your superiors and colleagues will appreciate you welcoming criticism, it shows them willingness to grow and improve.
5. Say no.
Know your capabilities and bandwidth. You don’t want to take on too many tasks or jobs and realize you’re in over your head. This can (and most likely will) result in a lower quality output as well as noticeable stress. Your friends and colleagues will respect your ability to say you’re too busy and don’t have the bandwidth to take on another project.