What You Will Find in First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates

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I created a resource primarily for college grads that are entering the workforce in an office environment at an entry level. But First Job provides tools and tips that can apply to anyone in a professional setting. At some point we all start out in an entry-level position.  Your career may begin working in an office, a laboratory, or a shop floor.  Perhaps you are sales representatives, or an account manager working in a retail environment.   Although my readers work in many industries, there is some common ground for all of us.  We need to communicate well.  We have to work in teams. We are expected to perform.  We have profit and loss responsibilities for business, or may even be given the responsibility for someone’s life.  The consequences of improper action are serious.

The book discusses items that a recruiter or hiring manager may not have told you about. They sold you on the company through stories about culture, experience, pay and progression.   You are trained in a special course of study, and so far have survived high school, college and family relationships. You haven’t lived on a deserted island so you basically know how to get along with people. What you may not be prepared for are the new work rules and the complexities of coworker relationships, so we will concentrate heavily on team interaction. No one really teaches you the basics in simple terms. After reading this book, you will find yourself more prepared to succeed at work.

Online credit card payments accepted for $7.00 plus shipping. I also have a bulk discount for departmental managers. To purchase First Job, email me at jmihalik@hlpsum1.com and I will send you an invoice.

I also invite you to join the LinkedIn Group called First Job After College, and share your experiences regarding funny “First Day” stories, or ask questions about what to expect on your first day, and receive advice from experienced workers.

About Joyce Jarek: Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1® Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college.

Devon’s First Day of Work – What is Your Story? ( #postgradlife #jobhunt #firstjob #graduation2015 )

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Devon was so excited to have a job offer come through. Best email ever received!   All the work he had put into college was finally paying off. He will have enough money to buy more than a burrito at Chipotle, books and beer money.   He was eligible for a car loan without a cosigner, and could pick up his first new car next week. Aahh – it will be nice to have a “real” grownup apartment away from campus too! Once he gave his verbal to the recruiter before Spring break, he thought he could cruise for a while and enjoy springtime on campus.

Last week, more emails began to roll in from his new employer. Every time he opened them, he felt apprehensive.  His parents had helped him to fill out that monster form for the FAFSA, but this seemed worse. The company sent documents weekly and expected a response right away. He felt like he was agreeing to terms at the new company that he didn’t understand, and wondered how it would affect him later.

Devon’s story may sound very familiar to you. It certainly reflected my story. I remember sitting down with a HR representative who gave me a pen and said “sign here”!  The only explanation provided was either “you have no choice” (code of conduct policy), or, “this one will be good for you” (enrolling into a 401K plan).

At some point we all start out in an entry-level position and meet new people and are handed new assignments. The first time you start a “real” job is the most unsettling.   Your career may begin working in an office, a laboratory, or a shop floor.  Perhaps you accepted a position as  a sales representative, or an account manager, or working in a retail environment.   There is common ground.  We need to communicate well.  We have to work in teams. We are expected to perform.  We have profit and loss responsibilities for business, or may even be given the responsibility for someone’s life.  The consequences of improper action could be serious.   What if I do the wrong thing, and will I even know?

Graduates are trained with skills in an area of study, but understanding company work rules and the complexities of coworker relationships will be new.  In my experience with interns and new hires, here are some common questions I encounter:

From Devon:

  • When can I have a day off of work?
  • Am I allowed to talk to employees outside of my department?
  • What is my assignment and when is it due?

From the hiring manager:

  • Why doesn’t Devon respond to emails?
  • How much time do I need to spend with him the first week?
  • What work shall I give him to get started, without overwhelming him?

Likely, everyone will be a little nervous.  Many companies have new-hire training programs.   However, no one can really predict or train on how department relationships and work assignments will be managed – each situation is unique.  My advice to the new hire –  be friendly, ask questions regarding what is expected of you, get busy right away, and listen closely.

I invite you to join the LinkedIn Group called First Job After College, and share your experiences regarding funny “First Day” stories, or ask questions about what to expect on your first day, and receive advice from experienced workers.

About Joyce Jarek: Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1® Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html About Joyce Jarek: Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1® Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

#Graduation2015 – What’s next for #Career and #Worklife

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Over the last few months, many college grads have been posting about final exams and graduation celebrations on Instagram and Twitter, and I have celebrated along with you! I recognize mixed feelings across the country   Some of you are relieved, others are thankful and mostly everyone is excited about the future although they realize that they face uncertainty.   Now the work years are looming ahead. It is a daunting thought after seeing parents and grandparents work for a lifespan, often not retiring until 40 to 50 years later. The workplace can be a difficult place to navigate and many of you will start with limited experience.  I’ve created tips and  tools about how to approach the workplace, get to know coworkers and control your personal performance. This blog prepares you for the workforce. I also suggest picking up my book on Amazon called First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates and begin now to absorb this easy read. www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html  In the meantime,  here are three pieces of advice that I can give you today after you receive that diploma.

ONE – Don’t crash into your workplace reality with a feeling of doom.  Student loan payments, monotony and boredom are the largest frustrations I see for college graduates.  Like a postgraduate degree, your first job is another 2 to 3 year growth experience. It is not the rest of your life.  This is still a tremendous opportunity to grow and learn, test your ability to perform and evaluate if your major was a good fit after all.

TWO – Get some financial advice. I suggest adopting a frugal mentality your first year.  Building up some savings and paying down debt will have more impact on your financial health 20 years from now than you realize. Take pride in what you can save and how you could conservatively approach expenses like cars, eating out and apartment furnishings.

THREE – Although you will miss your old friends at college, take this opportunity to seek out new friendships.   Relationships built early will lead to these colleagues endorsing and supporting you in any work situation. Your work friends become allies and as your career progresses, you will need this support network to survive changes in the economy and changes in management.

I congratulate you for all of your accomplishments!  Keep in touch with this blog and let us know what your are experiencing.

Best Regards,

Joyce Jarek

Escaping Confinement – Tales of #Cubicle Life #Postgradlife

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Recently I have joined the community of readers on Twitter and Instagram who read and post about the routine of their new life after college.   This group of young professionals face the new reality of being cubicle dwellers – spending almost one-third of their lives at work surrounded by four fake walls.  I remember these days – it felt a lot like being a freshman in a dorm – the lack of privacy minus the fun.  Many of you are faced with mundane and entry level tasks for hours on end and are experiencing a new boredom and tiredness from the routine of having to go into the office – every day, every week- no breaks.

I encourage you to get up and walk around with purpose. Create a mission each day to learn something new by networking with someone in a different department, ask to be included in a task force or committee where you will work on a special project, or as one follower commented in #postgradlife, live on the edge and go to the bathroom on a different floor.  Walk by and observe what is on bulletin boards and say hello to someone new.

The best way to stay motivated is to have multiple short-term projects along with your daily or monthly work. If 50 to 80% of your job repeats on a routine basis, then you should break up the routine with other assignments that only last 2 to 3 months. Part of managing yourself is being able to manage up. If your boss doesn’t prepare assignments in this manner take it upon yourself to ask him for some project work. This will ensure that you’re constantly learning something new or have an opportunity to build a skill set in a new area. When you spend so much time in one place, over 40 hours a week, you should enjoy it, or work will become boring and depressing.

For more tips on how to stay fresh, pick up my ebook First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  Here is a link to Amazon, Ingram and B&N.  www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Staying Employed is Key to Avoid Living with Parents

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A 2014 Gallup survey indicated that 14 percent of all kids graduating from college are living with parents. They continue to rely on their parents for support, even if they find immediate employment post-graduation. With Fall commencement nearing, many parents may find their graduate back in their old bedroom.

Who suffers financially? Mostly the parents who are surprised to find their kids returning home after college graduation because they either can’t find a job or have a job with wages so low that they can’t afford to live on their own while paying down college debt. About 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Boomers had hopes to stash away more money in those last few crunch years before retirement but instead must use their extra income to support their children who by now should be financially independent.

Faced with this growing reality, a 2014 article in Fortune magazine discussed how parents are helping their kids network and find a job, and are struggling to determine how far is too far in assisting their graduate.

We don’t magically change once receiving a degree, but hopefully have developed technical competency and communication skills before entering the workforce.

However, the emphasis in college was likely on technical skills development, but many young adults arrive at their first job post degree with a lack of communication and social skills. Colleges include courses on presentation and writing skills in their curriculum, however, training usually stops there, and today’s new employees are left to navigate day-to-day coworker interactions by drawing upon their short brush with socially-accepted work behavior from an internship. Understanding the soft skills can be key to long-term employment.

What kind of support should we ask for from our anxious parents? Ask your parents to share some of their early career experiences but stand on your own by staying employed.

I recently released my first book “First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.” You will find my personal experiences told through four fictional characters that find themselves in tricky business situations and provides advice on how to prevent them or respond responsibly.

First Job can be read in less than two hours but can impact a new professional during the first two years of work, which is often the most critical for maintaining employment.

For tips on navigating work life and advancing a business career,  visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html to purchase First Job.