Here is my short list of the pieces of advice I wished someone had shared with me when I was graduating. Then again, it’s quite possible that someone did and it just didn’t resonate with me. So here I am again, sharing the things I have learned since I entered the work force, first as a co-op student and then as a regular working adult.
1. Always own up to whatever you do – good, bad, or indifferent. People don’t like liars and they certainly don’t like it when some project gets derailed simply because you didn’t own up to a mistake earlier in the project that could have been corrected by someone else. That being said, if you make a mistake, try to fix things, for all you know, you’ll figure out the answer yourself. But if you don’t own up to it.
2. Keep a to do list – This in my opinion is a must. You may think you can keep all of your projects straight, but I will guarantee that you won’t be able to remember *everything* someone said to you in a meeting. You don’t want to be that guy or gal who doesn’t complete a project or does it wrong simply because you forgot about a key piece of information you received.
3. Always be ready to give a status update – You may be heading into a meeting that has nothing to do with what you are working on but you better have an idea of what is going on with the things you are working on. You never know what turn the meeting might take.
4. Always carry a pen and paper – This piece of advice comes from one of my first managers. She always told me to carry something to write with and on. This has stuck with me and no matter who I am going to talk to, I always make sure to bring a pen and paper. You don’t want to miss add something to your to do list or scribbling down a thought that may never come back again.
5. Keep a paper/e-mail trail – I cannot tell you how many times I have had to cover my own @ss and the only way that was possible was because I kept the e-mails that would go back and forth between myself and someone else. They may not be of great importance at the time but save them. You *never* know when they might come in handy.
Good luck out there co-op students and new grads!
What did you do today?