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


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.

The 5-to-1 Plan for Company Meetings

Red Italic Words and 5 to 1 Numbers

Whether you are just gaining momentum at work or your energy burst in January is starting to fizzle, your company’s yearly planning meeting can be the time to refocus your work plans, goals and strategy. It’s a perfect opportunity for networking, training and collaboration.  I have some suggestions on how to make the best of it.

Here is a simple plan that you can keep at your fingertips.

Think of five People you want to get to know better. Whether they are coworkers within your group, recent hires at the company, or an executive in a different department, make a point to shake hands and ask, “What interests you most about this year’s meetings?” Be prepared to carry the conversation until it begins to flow, and then go out on a limb and ask a personal question. You may find a common interest to form a bond from.

Avoid the following four No’s: 

Don’t get caught checking your cell phone for messages and emails while a speaker is talking. All of the people who are dutifully complying with the “no tech zone” rule are watching YOU check your phone.

Don’t indulge in too many beverages! Something about all-day exhausting meetings and a “free-to-you” company tab may make whooping it up seem harmless, but, a little self-control at night will help you to be wide awake and ready in the morning.

Approach the meeting without negativity. Often we think we are too busy to spend a day or two strategizing. But this is an opportunity to get creative. Bring a blank notebook with you and write down anything that comes to mind. This will keep you focused on the speaker and presentations, and you may just come up with a new idea , product or process improvement that your company needs.

Remember an old adage – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. This is a time to support company goals and the people that are helping the company to grow or change. Keep disparaging remarks to yourself. Negative Nancy is not on the invite list.

Arrive with three Goals for the meeting and leave with at least two Impressions. Formulate your thoughts of what you would like to accomplish during this time, and commit to coming away with two impressions of people, ideas or plans. Take a lessons-learned approach and be prepared to answer the question your boss is sure to ask – what was your biggest take away?

Finally, when you arrive back at your desk, begin to execute immediately one Action Item that you promised yourself to do or accomplish as a result of the session. It is important to start on it right away. As time passes, the feeling in your gut may dissipate. Go with your gut – after having a day or two filled with inspiration, be confident that it’s the right move.

How To Choose A Career Book



There are thousands of career books on the market in the self-help category.  We often read books about how to achieve something we desire: I want to be 20 lbs lighter, I wish I had a high-paying job, or I want to have less stress in my life.   We gravitate to the ideal state and want to read about what it will be like when we get there.  I suggest that the best chance for eventually realizing this dream, is to start from where you are today, taking one step at a time.  The book you need is the one that gets you started.
Many of us are looking for tips  on how to advance in our career, find a new job, or become a better manager. A book with high impact will stress slow but steady improvements, starting with the job or skills that you have right now.

To find the right book, I suggest a quick self assessment:
1) What job do I have today? 
Are you an individual contributor or a manager of others?  How many years of work experience do you have?  What would be the next likely move for you?  If you are in an entry-level position, then reading a book intended for C-Suite executives may leave you confused about how to improve productivity and performance in your cubicle tomorrow morning.  If you are a mid-level manager, then you already come with a set of your own experiences which may go beyond the author’s recommendations.
2) What problems are you having at work today?
Take some time to study your environment at work.  Do you feel your place of employment or the people you are working with are holding you back?  Are you holding yourself back? Often our thoughts about others and our work location can give us the biggest tips on what we need to concentrate on personally.  How can a personal change impact the way I am viewed or treated at the company?   By exploring this line of questioning,  you probably can quickly identify what work skills need improvement.  If your desk at work looks like my teenage son’s bedroom, search for books about organization, productivity and time management.  If you are having trouble connecting to coworkers, search for books on teamwork and continuous improvement.  Identify what appears to be an external problem, and then internalize it.
3) What kind of learner am I?
Do you like short stories or thoughtful reads in small print?  Do you like the theory or fact-based evidence about success, or would you prefer light stories?  Would you enjoy reading about how others achieved success, or do you want the author to talk directly to you? The book that you are most likely to finish, is probably the right purchase for you, even if it is slightly off-topic.  You will retain the material and find something to take away, if you enjoyed reading it.
Congratulations!  Just by doing this short assessment, you have taken the first step  forward in your career.  You have identified what you want to work on, and can begin to search book titles.  I suggest reading a preview for each book where the title appeals to your situation while keeping in mind the type of style you desire.  Most booksellers allow you to read the first few pages for free, and you can determine the style, tempo and subject matter from what the author leads with in the first few pages.  That is how I wrote my book.   If the preview is short and to the point, the book will be to.  If the preview is personable or thought provoking,  so will be the next 20 chapters.
Good luck and connect with me online!

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

First Job: The Transition Series Video – Graduates Prepare for Your First Job!

White Letters First Job with red background

Spring 2015 Graduates have entered their last semester and the end of their college career is in sight.  Congratulations!

Watch Joyce Jarek’s YouTube Video series about transitioning from the college environment to the workforce.

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. To purchase, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Escaping Confinement – Tales of #Cubicle Life #Postgradlife

Female sitting at desk in front of computer

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

Why I wrote First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates

Red book jacket with word cloud and author name

Hello Readers:
I recently released my first book “First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.” The book relays personal experiences from a 27 year business career through four fictional characters, Kelsey, Devon, Jake and Donna that find themselves in tricky business situations and provides advice on how to prevent them or respond responsibly.  I made a lot of stupid mistakes in my career, and have always kept a journal to remind myself not to do them again.  I hope readers will recognize when they are in a similar situation and have a strong reference point on how to navigate through it.

The market is saturated with heavy reference information available for professionals with five to fifteen years of experience who are ready for leadership positions, but few books concentrate on early career progression for both men and women.  The average 23 year old is just trying to settle in, have fun and enjoy their new life, and put the heavy reading away for a while.

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 since many employers consider this your trial period.

There is order information and accompanying aids at www.hlpsum1.com.  The  reference worksheets will aid the reader in assessing how they spend their time, and whether they are a top performer and ready for a promotion out of their entry level position.

Q4 Rising – Are you ready for year end?

red and brown box with letter Q and number 4 with word rising

Over the summer I challenged you to keep your motivation up while you were living out your summer.   As we head out to vacation often we check out for a while on work goals for the year. I encouraged you to ramp up work activity for the second half of the summer through Labor Day. Breaking news – we are only three weeks away from the beginning of fourth quarter, and three months away from year-end close.   So it may be time to put down the stats on your fantasy football team and pick up the goal sheet you made at the beginning of the year.

I suspect you are doing really well in some areas and may be behind in others. Don’t despair – it is just time to break it down and figure out what areas you need to concentrate on.

Here is a goals scorecard that can help you. Take a little time to evaluate how you are doing.

Goal 1 Not Started Let’s Talk!! In Progress Complete

Not Started – so what happens if you haven’t started on something yet? First things first – you need to ask yourself why. Have other goals been taking more time than originally planned to achieve? Or are you just not sure how to get started? Either way – I suggest asking for help. Talk to your supervisor to get a boost with this one.

Let’s talk – these goals have been started but are in serious jeopardy.   Why is this being derailed? Are you working hard on a project but the results are not what you expected? Are you working in a team and the team isn’t working well? Once again – it is time to reach out. But before you do – some soul searching may be needed here. I believe you may already know why this goal isn’t working out. Is it a few simple actions that will right this goal? If so – take them this week. If it is more complicated then you need to admit that you are struggling. Reach out to your team members and your supervisor with honesty and sincerity.   Together you may be able to get these goals back on track.

In Progress – congratulations, it sounds like you are on your way.   A couple of things to note. How can you make sure that this goal crosses the finishes line? Outline the three or four actions that will help to wrap things up. Create a Gantt chart to keep this on track. Remember, not much happens the last two weeks of the year. Your goal chart should end on December 15.

Complete – again congratulations are in order. It must feel good to have accomplished these goals. Check with your supervisor and review its progress! You may be surprised, there may be a few things you need to polish!

Good luck with the rest of the year! Write to me and let me know how it is going!

First Job – Situational Story Telling That Improves Professional Skills by Joyce Jarek

White Letters First Job with red background

Hello readers:

I want to share exciting news about a milestone achieved in my personal and professional life. I recently surpassed a twenty-five-year anniversary in business management serving several corporations in roles that include analytics, contract negotiations, purchasing and operations management. However, the most rewarding experience has been through supervision and mentoring.

I want to share my experiences in such a way that younger professionals may quickly absorb lessons learned through stories about common situations that they are likely encountering right now in the workplace. This fall, my first book First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates will be released through Friesen Press and made available with major carriers like Ingram, Amazon, Kindle and Barnes & Noble as a paperback or ebook.

First Job relays valuable information by introducing four characters Donna, Devon, Kelsey and Jake who have landed jobs in engineering, marketing, and business development. They encounter situations that occur everyday in the business world, and are affected by the actions of colleagues and friends that influence the outcome. It makes suggestions on how to develop skill sets around growing your knowledge base, collaborating with team members, and distinguishing yourself as promotion-worthy. The book is ideal for 19-26 year olds just entering the workforce or have under 3 years of experience. However, managers may also use this book to create professional awareness and encourage discussion about career growth, or as a teaching tool for new supervisors.

You can sign up for an alert about the release date at www.hlpsum1.com   I would appreciate your support by sharing this announcement with friends, coworkers and family on your social media or internet page.

Best regards,

Joyce Jarek