First Year at Work

The transition from college to career can be an exciting time for emerging professionals. However, it can also be a scary time for new grads as they get a foot in the door and lay the foundation for a successful career during the first year at work.

List developed by Shaquaya Shelby, Spelman College, ’05

Be humble! Lose the ego and sense of entitlement

Be a sponge! Strive to learn as much as possible about the culture of your new employer

Be resourceful! Know where to go for the answers you need

Be visible! Volunteer for projects that are available to you and speak up if you have valuable ideas to contribute

Be social and approachable! Network with team members in and outside of your department or immediate work group

Be patient! Mastery of your job function and rewards for your accomplishments will come in due time

Be honest! Have integrity and be accountable for your actions and choices

Be a good listener! Do a little less talking, a little more listening, and ask great questions

Be selective! Pay attention to the company you keep and surround yourself with positive, professional, and motivated peers. No gossiping or participating in office politics

Be prepared! Remain as punctual, professionally dressed, and well spoken as you were when you interviewed. Don’t get overly comfortable.

Career Resources for First Year On-the-Job Success

27 Etiquette Rules for our Times (

Success During your First Year on the Job (Yale University)

New Job Proverbs (

Advice I Wish Someone Had Given Me on my First Job (

25 Twitter Pages you Should Follow (

First Year at Work Blog Postings at The HBCU Career Center