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Posted May 03, 2016 by

5 onboarding tips for recent grads

So you just landed your first entry-level job and are graduating from college soon. Congratulations! You’re completing two major milestones simultaneously. After you celebrate, settle in, watch this short video hosted by Content Manager, Bethany Wallace, and read this brief article before showing up for your first day of work.

What is “onboarding?” Why should you care about it? And how should you prepare for it?

According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), onboarding is “the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.” Thankfully, most companies no longer have a sink-or-swim mentality regarding new employees. They have recognized the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, and they want to retain top candidates. In order to do so, they attempt to help new hires transition into the workplace as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

That’s the good news for you as a new employee.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have a part to play in the onboarding process, though. Here are five quick tips to ease the transition from recent grad to entry-level employee.


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1. Onboarding is a two-way street.

When you’re a new entry-level employee, you’ll have a reasonable amount of jitters on your first day of work (and beyond). You’ll feel concerned about what to wear, who to talk to, and how to behave during meetings. This is totally normal.

But if it eases your mind, just remember that onboarding—the process of acclimation—is a two-way street. Your employer is just as concerned about making a great first impression on YOU as you are about making a great first impression on her. Does your new employer treat you well on your first day? Did your new coworkers greet you or ignore you? Did your supervisor have materials and office supplies waiting for you, or did you have to wait for three days for a computer to be set up? These might seem like minor details, but they’re really not. Pay attention to the way you’re treated.

There are many common onboarding mistakes employers make that reflect negatively on the employer and affect their ability to retain great employees (like you!). The way your employer (not just your supervisor, but everyone in the company) treats you speaks volumes about the corporate culture and work environment. This helps you make your decision about whether this company is a good long-term fit for you as an employee.

2. Don’t glaze over during orientation.

Even though orientation at many companies can seem a little dry (okay, ahem, boring), the information covered can actually be important. While the information covered may not be presented in the most entertaining manner, it’s probably information you need to either perform your job well or to function well in the workplace. Either way, attempt to pay attention rather than zone out by playing with apps on your phone. Not only will you appear to be a more engaged employee to your new employer, but you’ll also retain more of the content covered (which might come in handy later when you’re expected to remember it).

3. Stick around during breaks/lunch.

It’s easy to give into the temptation to skip out during breaks or during lunch and dinner invitations, which are totally optional, but that’s when you have the opportunity to truly network with your coworkers and supervisors. Not only will you build genuine working relationships with others, but you’ll also learn more about company culture by attending these “off the record” events. You’ll see people’s true colors and be more likely to enjoy the next day’s “on the record” events if you connect well with your coworkers over dinner the night before.

4. Ask questions.

If you’re sitting through a training session or orientation workshop and feel confused or have a question, speak up! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Many new hires often feel too intimidated to ask questions and wind up struggling in the workplace for weeks, or even months, as a result.

If you’re too intimidated to speak up during a large meeting, take notes and ask your supervisor questions later.

5. Get a mentor (or two).

Many companies now provide new employees, particularly recent college graduates, with official mentors. However, you may want to consider seeking out your own mentors. It’s never a bad idea to find one mentor in your company (someone with at least a few years of experience) and another mentor in your “dream” career field. This person might wind up being your career mentor for life, so select someone you truly admire and whose career path you may want to emulate. A career mentor can provide guidance from time to time and advice when times are tough in your career journey. It helps to hear an objective voice and encouraging word from someone you admire.

You’ve already done the tough part of landing a great entry-level job; just continue preparing yourself for those first few months of work as you transition into a brand new employee. You’re going to do a fabulous job.

For more onboarding tips, read our blog and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Posted September 18, 2014 by

New on Your Entry Level Job? How to Get Attention the Right Way

So, you’re starting your new entry level job and want to make a great impression.  If this is your goal, the following post has tips on how to get the right kind of attention at work.

You managed to land a coveted entry-level job at a Fortune 100 company. Congratulations! You’re now just another guppy floundering in an ocean teeming with sharks. It’s the first day on the job and you’re full of excitement in anticipation of the wondrous future that awaits you. As you make your way to the battleship grey cubicle that

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Posted August 04, 2014 by

College Students, Are Your Summer Jobs as Interns about to be Over? 7 Ways to Conclude Them on a Good Note

With their summer jobs as interns winding down, college students may be looking to end them in positive ways.   In the following post, learn seven ways to finish internships on a good note.

August is right around the corner. Summer is almost over… and, by definition, so is your summer internship. So now is a good time to think about the final weeks of your summer gig, and perhaps the last chance you’ll have to tie up loose ends, communicate with colleagues and make yourself stand out to your supervisor…

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Posted July 23, 2014 by

College Students, Have You Enjoyed Your Jobs as Summer Interns? 14 Ways to Distinguish Yourselves Before Your Internships are Over

Before college students finish their jobs as summer interns, they have an opportunity to make great impressions.  Learn 14 ways they can do so in the following post.

Featured: Featured Summer internship season is over in a few weeks and you want to make sure you leave the best impression. Read through my list of 14 tips to make sure you are a stand-out intern and will get nothing but glowing reviews from your internship coordinator!read more

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Posted May 22, 2014 by

Internship Finder, Learn How to Handle These 8 Fears

As an internship finder, you might be nervous about beginning your new position.  See if you have any of the eight fears mentioned in the following post, and if you do, how to handle them.

Fetching coffee. Making thousands of copies. At one point, these were just two of an intern’s not-so-favorite things. Today, an intern deals with many more issues – and a recent article named “14 Awfully Frustrating Things That Every Intern Goes Through” lists many of them. Although these are common

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Posted May 14, 2014 by

6 Tips an Internship Finder Should Know Before Starting a Position

As an internship finder, keep these six tips in the following post in mind before beginning your new position.

Whether you’re finishing your freshman year in college or getting ready to graduate, when you start your first internship you never really know what to expect. So, to help you get the most of out of your internship, here are six pieces of advice that I wish someone would have shared with me as I

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Posted March 06, 2014 by

On to the Next One. 5 Ways an Internship Finder Can Secure Another Position

Are you an internship finder looking to land another position?  If so, learn five ways to do so in the following post.

Featured: Featured So you’re smack in the middle of your spring internship. If you haven’t secured a summer internship yet, you should get that process started! It doesn’t have to be a huge chore. In fact, Kailee Smith — our Intern Queen Campus Ambassador at UCF (my alma mater!) — recently wrote

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Posted March 04, 2014 by

How to Leave Your Entry Level Job the Right Way

If you’re leaving your entry level job for another position, the following post has advice on how to exit the right way.

The author of this post, Alexandra Levit, has generously offered to give away a copy of her book, They Don’t Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to the Business World. Leave a comment to enter, and we’ll choose a winner by March 1! After the stressful process of looking for a

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Posted September 26, 2013 by

Internship Finder, Here Are 9 Ways to Create a Successful Experience

If you have found a Fall internship, you want to make a positive impression from day one.  So, internship finder, check out the following post to get tips on making your experience a success.

Featured: Featured I hold evaluations with my interns two to three times over the course of the semester. Here are some of the notes we went over during our most recent evaluation. Read these over, soak them in, and rock your fall internship.  1. Communicate with your supervisor. Let them know the status of your projects

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Posted June 21, 2013 by

Jobs for College Students – Leave Your Internship the Right Way

If for some reason you decide to leave your internship, make sure it is on a good note.  To learn more about how to move on from these jobs for college students, check out the following post.

Featured: Featured You applied to a bunch of internships, and were selected for your top two DREAM opportunities. You’re used to being super busy, so you decide to juggle both over the summer. But after the first couple of weeks, you realize that you may have bitten off more than you can chew. Or maybe one of the

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How To Quit Your Internship