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Your First 30 Days on the Job

You worked hard throughout college to keep your grades up, obtain relevant internships/co-ops, and now you’ve landed a great engineering job. CONGRATS!! As you prepare for your first job in the “real world”, there are some very important things to know in regards to being successful on the job. How you act and perform the first month are crucial to a successful career.

Below is a list of tips to help guide you in your first 30 days on the job.

  1. Be punctual:  As a new employee, you should arrive on time (if not early) and leave on time or a little later.  If you take a lunch break, it should be no more than an hour.  You want to establish a reputation as a hard worker, not someone who is consistently late.
  2. Build relationships:  Seek out your coworkers: do not wait for a colleague or manager to introduce you to everyone else.  While that often is part of the orientation, it may not happen. Never miss an opportunity to introduce yourself, and try to genuinely learn about your new coworkers; take notes on each person you meet when you return to your desk!
  3. Learn the business:  In order for you to be a contributor, you need to figure out how the company works.  Know the organizational structure of the company, the business objectives, and its products and services.
  4. Show enthusiasm for your job:  There’s a good chance that your first job after graduation will not be your “dream job." However, you need to remember that this is the start of your career.  Enjoy the experience and soak it all in; do not immediately begin asking about advancement, other roles within the company, etc.  Show your manager and coworkers that you are happy to be there and excited to be a member of the team.
  5. Meet with your manager to discuss performance evaluation:  Your goal should be to perform BEYOND expectations your first month.  In order to do this, you need to know what the expectations are. Schedule a meeting with your manager to learn if any of the requirements of the job have changed since your interview. Find out when your first performance evaluation will be and set goals.  Make sure you understand how your manager likes to communicate.  Once you have a clear idea of what is required of you to succeed on the job, deliver beyond what is expected.
  6. Ask questions, but not too many:  As a new employee, there will be a lot that you don’t know.  That’s normal.  Keep a notepad by your desk and write down the things you have questions about.  You’ll find that many you can figure out on your own.  Once you have a list of three or four things that you still need help with, you’ll be able to approach your manager with an organized list. When you do get answers, make detailed notes so that you don’t have to ask again!
  7. Seek a mentor:  If there is not already a formal mentor program in place, seek out someone to act as your informal mentor.  This is typically someone other than your direct supervisor.  Ideally, look for someone who has performed your role and is willing to take you under their wing. 

“The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
Napoleon Hill

About the author

Katy Arenschield

Katy Arenschield is the Engineering Co-op and Internship Program Manager.