Advice to Graduates

So you’ve landed your first job. Now what?

A bouquet of bright sharpies sits next to my black inbox, telephone and computer on a crisp white desk.

The cursor on the screen taunts me to begin typing.

I’ve officially begun my first professional job.

I joined Foundry as a full-time employee in January. Transitioning from a university to an agency atmosphere has been a scary yet exciting move. The work I put forth is no longer about A’s and B’s, but client approval or disapproval.

To prepare yourself for this transition, it’s crucial to understand how your new company ebbs and flows, to stay up to date on the latest business trends and to understand your clients or customers.

To help make the transition from school to career a bit easier, I’ve put together a few general tips and forewarnings.

Don’t barrage (or barge).

If you’re working in a fast-paced, high-volume environment, your co-workers and boss are busy, most likely receiving a large number of emails a day.

Help them out and don’t send a barrage of emails. Rather than sending numerous one-question emails, send as few as possible and make them concise and to the point. And if you have questions, save them for a meeting rather than barging in on your boss seven times in one morning.

Make a task list.

Your boss gives you instructions. Your client gives you 10 deadlines. You’re heading into a meeting and you have only so many Post-Its to keep track. My advice: Keep everything in order and organized by using a task list on your desktop and phone.

I use TeuxDeux, a browser-based to-do list, which is also an app. You can add new tasks, cross them off or move them over to the next day. It’s very helpful in making sure nothing slips through the cracks. (Plus, it has a cute name.)

Prepare the night before.

Students are acquainted with an irregular sleeping pattern. Say “sayonara” to that lax schedule and “hello” to regimented sleeping and early-bird mornings.

It’s very frustrating to wake up in the morning and have to prepare a thousand things before you leave for work. My advice: Do as much as you can the night before to prevent having to run out the door with a granola bar stuffed in your mouth and a coffee-stained shirt.  Prepare your coffee, pack your lunch, and ladies, if necessary even curl your hair and set out your outfit the night before.

I’ve found it to be very relaxing to wake up and simply make breakfast, sip my ready-made coffee and read or watch the news before dressing. With a little preparation, I have more time to enjoy my morning before leaving for work.

Congratulations 2012 graduates! Whether you’re joining the work force, taking time to travel or figuring out your next big move, I wish you the best!