While a college degree, an impressive resume and a strong handshake may land you a spot at your first dream job, these things won’t guarantee longevity and success in your budding career. According to a recent study conducted by Leadership IQ, a global leadership training and research company, 46% of new hires fail within their first 18 months of employment due to lack of motivation, communication issues and other pitfalls. Here are four common mistakes seasoned professionals recommend recent grads avoid as they embark on their career. — Jamie Harrison
Mistake 1: Taking an amazing job, but not properly prepping financially.
It is imperative to understand your financial situation before packing your belongings and whisking away to your new job across the country. This is one major mistake that Delores Dean, Ph.D, director of the Career Center at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University has witnessed. “Students are not doing their homework when it comes to taking a job and not comparing the cost of living to their salaries. They must take into account their loans and other financial obligations,” she says. “These expenses have to be considered when negotiating salaries.” Be sure to research the company, employees and the environment where you’ll be living before making the big move.
Mistake 2: Under-communicating with your team or coworkers.
Allison Winters, assistant account executive at Hope-Beckham Inc., a public relations firm in Atlanta, urged the importance of keeping your colleagues updated on your projects, workload and schedule. “If you’re going to miss work, let someone know ASAP, preferably your supervisor,” she says. “In college, if you got the flu and missed a class or two, you could e-mail your professor later in the day and straighten everything out. At work, your coworkers will wonder where you are and why no one has heard from you.” Depending on the employer, if you fall off the grid for a certain length of time, you won’t have a job to return to. If you can’t call or e-mail, have a roommate or family member do it for you.
Mistake 3: Having a negative or arrogant attitude.
Seldom in life does anyone rise to the top without paying their dues first. No matter what level you’re at in your career, your job will probably include some form of menial tasks. “Chances are many of the tasks that make you mutter, ‘Why do I have to do this?’ won’t go away with your first (or second, or third) promotion,” Winters says. “Suck it up and realize that everything is a learning opportunity. Then, look forward to the parts of your job that you enjoy.”
Mistake 4: Being a Mr. or Ms. Know-It-All.
After four years of college, work experience and tons of internships, college graduates can develop a false sense of entitlement when it comes to their first entry-level job. “Sometimes they aren’t physically or mentally prepared for the job and they come in with a ‘I-know-everything’ attitude,” saysTalitha Vickers, reporter at NBC WESH 2 News in Orlando. “They’re able to rock the interview, but then are clueless when it comes to what is expected of them at the job.” Recent grads are advised to be observant about workplace culture and learn the best way to navigate it. “Be an attentive listener and absorb all of the information that is given to you. This will show humility and can carry you throughout your career,” she said.