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5 Common Mistakes You Can Make at Your First Post-Grad Job

July 30, 2019

Being hired for your first post-grad job is an exciting life event. It’s also one that comes with apprehension, confusion, and a fear of making mistakes. This is all normal. Everyone messes up at least once, and chances are, you will, too. Fortunately, most people are willing to forgive mistakes and help newbies get situated. However, you also can do your part by actively trying to sidestep common blunders. Here are five mistakes people often make at their first post-grad job and ways to avoid them.

1. Not asking for help

It can be intimidating to enter a new workplace, especially one composed of long-time veterans who go about their days like clockwork, automatically knowing what needs to be done. While it’s understandable you’ll want to fit in as quickly as possible, it’s a bad idea to pretend you already know everything. It’s far better to ask for help right away if you don’t understand something or need further clarification. No one expects you to learn by osmosis.

2. Not researching a job before accepting

Many newbies to the workforce are so excited about landing a job that they forget to do their due diligence before saying yes. For instance, if a job offer is in a new city, you’ll want to carefully research the company before you accept it. And if you need to relocate, be sure you are moving to a city you can afford. You don’t want to end up in a circumstance where you’re set up for failure from the get-go.

3. Arriving late in the morning

Late arrivals are generally under your own control, so as “mistakes” go, they’re not as forgivable as some other blunders. While in social settings, being fashionably late can be seen as cool, at work it’s definitely not. Make an effort to be on time every day with these tips:

  • Get in a habit of getting out of bed at the same time every day.
  • Go to bed earlier if you can’t get up in the morning.
  • Avoid hitting the snooze button.
  • Set several alarms if you do tend to snooze or turn alarms off.

Make whatever changes you need to do to be punctual. While occasional lateness is usually forgivable, it’s not acceptable for most workplaces on a regular basis.

4. Including too many people on emails

Email is still a primary method of communication for most workplaces. People often start a chain of emails that includes dozens of recipients, sometimes more. Before joining the conversation, consider these rules of thumb:

  • Read messages carefully and determine if a response from you is warranted, or if the email is purely informational.
  • If a response is warranted, be brief and discriminating about your reply.
  • NEVER hit “reply all” — unless your response provides value to everyone, offers more information, or asks a relevant question.

Hitting “reply all” is a common mistake, sometimes even for seasoned professionals. But try to avoid this one because it’s an annoying time-waster that can earn you some ill will. No one wants their inboxes filled up with “OK, got it” or “thanks for the information” types of responses.

5. Losing your work

It’s upsetting to discover your work has gone *poof!* after spending hours on a project or document. Don’t make the rookie mistake of losing your work. Instead, make the use of cloud computing software a routine part of your day. Navigating cloud technology is also a good skill set to add to your professional toolbox.

At the end of the workday, it’s a given that everyone makes mistakes. The best thing to do is own them and do whatever you can to rectify them. If you hide your mistakes or fail to own up to them — rather than fix them — people eventually catch on and lose respect for you. It’s wiser to accept that it’s OK to screw up sometimes rather than beat yourself up. Try to learn from your slip-ups and discover ways to avoid mishaps in the future. 

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