Dear Graduate: 10 Tips to Help You Succeed

First and foremost, congratulations! You made it! Second, welcome to the “real world”! It wasn’t all that long ago that I was in your shoes, wondering what the career world was going to hold for me. And it has held much bigger and better things than I could have imagined. 

A quick backstory about me:
4 years ago, I took a position as Administrative Assistant at a small marketing company in Lincoln, Nebraska called Transformation Marketing. At the time, there were only 3 people in the company including the owner and myself. The company now has 10 employees and 3 interns (one of which we will be hiring upon graduation) and we are also currently hiring for another position. I have had the opportunity to grow into larger roles as the company has grown, and have had the pleasure overseeing the Graphic Design and Social Media departments over the last several years. Last week, merely a month short of my 4 year anniversary with the company (and one day after I had decided on the topic for this blog), I was offered the position of Director of Operations.

So, today, I want to give you 10 tips on how I’ve gotten to where I am, and what I look for in young individuals, such as yourself, when I’m hiring an intern and/or employee.

1. Don’t wait until after college to get experience
(Sorry college grads, this first one’s for the high school grads.) There are many employers who want someone with experience. Get that experience while you’re still in college so you can dive right into the working world when you graduate. Take an internship (even if it’s unpaid), get a job related to your field (even if it’s an entry level position). Find a company you’d want to work for after college and get your foot in the door. 

2. Don’t be afraid to take an entry level position
Even if you are a college graduate, you may have to start at the bottom. I went from being a manager to being an admin assistant when I started working for Transformation Marketing. It was so worth it.

3. Live by one of my favorite quotes
“Folks that never do any more than they are paid for, never get paid for any more than they do.” It’s okay to come in early and/or stay late. It’s okay to volunteer to do something that’s not in your job description. It’s okay to speak to your boss about where you see yourself in the company in 3 years (and then show them you’re cut out for it).

4. Find a boss/company that you love
Some say it’s important to love what you do. I don’t disagree. But I think it’s more important to love where you work. Find boss that empowers their employees and stands behind their vision and mission for the company (and make sure that mission lines up with your own values). This is the foundation of a work environment that you will love.

5. Get your priorities straight
Speaking of your values, what are they? Make a list. Make sure you know what’s most important to you. Everything you do should follow those life values.

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Lacy Jo Donald

I, like many mothers, can't remember my life before I had children. I adore my children and love to spend time with them. I also love my job, God and my family!