Posted February 20, 2014 by

You Got the Job! Now Hold Onto It…for 2 Years

Young male with arms crossed, showing confidence and charisma

Young male with arms crossed, showing confidence and charisma. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Summary: How long should you ride out your first job out of college? Read on for some advice.

You did it! After years of school, a bit of hard work, and a few lucky network connections, you finally landed your first professional job. Welcome to the adult working world, and good luck! As you move forward, a few strategic career moves can help you hold onto your hard-won prize. And when the time comes, these moves can also help you move on to the next phase. Keep these tips in mind.

1. Keep your head up.

Don’t smile at everyone and engage with the world around you during your first week, only to bury yourself in your cubicle for the next few years. The work you do at your desk will be important, for sure (or your employers wouldn’t be paying you to do it). But at the entry level, the impression you make and the distance you travel will be based on your attitude, rather than your aptitude and specific skill sets. If you don’t have many practical skills, don’t worry—you’ll pick them up. But in the meantime, concentrate on those around you. Remember names, smile, attend Friday happy hour, and join the company softball team.

2. Think of your team.

When you come in on time every morning and put in a little extra effort at the end of the day, you’re more likely to please and impress your boss than you would if you disappeared daily at 4:59. But there’s a more important reason to do this: your team. There are people around you who are working hard, even harder than you are. And if you show that you care about these people and respect their level of effort, your small gestures won’t go unnoticed.

3. Tackle your bosses job, not your own.

Most of the time, you’ll be struggling to stay on top of an overflowing inbox, but whenever you can, look beyond your own responsibilities and figure out how your daily tasks advance the interests of your boss and the company as a whole. If she looks good, then you’ll look good. So make her goals into your goals.

Love What You Do & Leave When It’s Time

For the first two years of your new career, give this company all you have. Then get out of there. Loyalty is great, and your boss will be pleased and reassured if you equate company success with personal success. But keep one thing in mind: company success isn’t personal success. If you love working here, then stay as long as you like. But if you’re ready to advance and you’ve held this role for six months to two years, don’t expect an engraved invitation to the next level.

You’ll need to take responsibility for the next step of your career, and that may mean asking directly for a promotion and looking outside the company if your request isn’t granted. Aim to please, but don’t let your performance review and your boss’s opinion provide the final word on your value or your long term future.

LiveCareer (www.livecareer.com), home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job. Find LiveCareer on Youtube and visit LiveCareer’s Google+ page for even more tips and advice on all things career and resume-related.

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