As thousands of college graduates begin their first jobs this summer and fall, many will find that, for the first time, they are the youngest in the room. It can be an extremely uncomfortable situation; there are office politics to balance, challenging work assignments, and, in some cases, resistance to technology that you have grown up with.
(Photo Credit: Michael Lokner/Flickr)
As the youngest in the office, it’s your job to prove that you deserve the job you rightfully earned — even if your co-workers think you’re too young. Impressing your colleagues may take time, but according to Jessica Taylor from The Muse and Kristen Gallagher from HerAgenda.com, it’s completely possible by following a few easy steps.
1. Learn the Business
As everyone else in the company has either been in the industry or at that specific business for several years, it’s important to show that you know your stuff, too, and can keep up. Jessica suggests to dedicate time to reading through your company website, social media platforms and news releases, as well as industry-focused sites and publications, on a weekly basis. This will not only help you do your job better, but also be more confident so it doesn’t seem like you’ve only been on the job for a few weeks or months.
2. Be Reliable
When you’re the new kid, it’s not only important to make a good first impression, but keep making good impressions. Jessica’s advice is to be “unfailingly reliable.” This means being early to the office; early to meetings; completing projects early; and always being punctual. While this advice sounds extremely obvious, it will make a difference when people notice the effort you’re putting in to your new job, enabling them to trust you sooner.
3. Dress Appropriately
Finally, be sure you’re dressed for the job, to earn the respect of not just your boss, but your colleagues as well. While you may be used to cutoff shorts and tank tops from your college days, working in an office requires more appropriate attire. Kristen found that when she looked for jobs that “required equal parts professionalism and flexibility,” blazers, sharp pants, and nice heels fit the bill. While appropriate attire may still call for jeans and a hoodie at some jobs (such as at a startup), consider what kind of message your 9-5 attire reflects upon you. Even if you can wear sweats to work, you may not want to if you’re trying to impress your coworkers.
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