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Success on the Job

Set realistic goals and expectations
Meet with your supervisor to discuss your work plan.  What specific skills and competencies do you need to acquire and demonstrate?  What is the timeframe?  What training is available?  Monitor your progress and arrange to meet with your supervisor regularly.  Share your career interests and ideas.  Communicate concerns early. 

Maintain a “can do” attitude
 Show your eagerness to learn new things by welcoming new assignments.  Understand that all positions engage in a wide range of activities … some that catch your eye while others do not.  Tackle all assignments and projects with enthusiasm.  Seek additional projects when appropriate. 

Perform to the best of your ability
Be sure you understand the assignment and its deadline before you begin.  If you need assistance, ask.  Check and recheck your work before submitting it to your supervisor.  Ask for feedback.

Be respectful of colleagues
You are the new person in the office and you can learn from every colleague, regardless of rank.  Show all of your colleagues that you value their opinion and years of experience.  

Support the team
Your ability to work well with others is key to your success.  The team’s goals are your goals.  Understand how your work fits into theirs. 

Understand the unwritten rules 
As a new employee, you will absorb a tremendous amount of information.  Observe.  What is appropriate attire?  What are expected hours?  How do things get done?  How do colleagues interact with one another?  Are there office politics to steer away from?   

Be flexible
You may be near the end of a project, when you are asked to start a new one.  Be aware that priorities in an organization change.  Your willingness and ability to switch gears easily is required for your success.  Your supervisor will help you to prioritize your assignments. 

Identify a mentor 
A mentor may be assigned to you or you may need to identify your own.  This is often a more senior, respected professional in your field who would like to take a personal interest in your career development.  With your mentor, you will feel free to ask advice about your career decisions.

Document your success 
Record assignments, projects, and achievements.  Keep copies of evaluations and samples of your work.  Ask for letters of recommendation.  Keep these handy for future career conversations.   


University Career Center
2100 Pullen Hall · Box 7303
Raleigh, NC 27695
hours: M-F 8:00-5:00
drop in hours: M-F 11:00-2:00
919.515.4210 (fax)
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