How to set yourself up for success in your first job

August 11, 2023

Whether you’ve accepted a dream job or an interim position on the way to your next career move, it’s important to stay motivated and set clear goals for yourself when embarking on a new career journey. We’ve got tips to help you succeed.

A key factor in succeeding in your first job is to set clear goals, and that begins with understanding the expectations of the role you’ve accepted.

Set yourself up for success

Even if you feel like you got a clear understanding of your job role in the hiring process, it’s a good idea to meet with your manager right away to go over it again. This is the time to ask questions to make sure you align your expectations with theirs so that you’re moving in the right direction toward achieving your goals from the start.

During your meeting, identify areas where your skills, talents and experience can be best used. Voice your interest in growing with the company and what other positions and opportunities you might be passionate about. A candid discussion can foster a sense of trust between you and your manager that could result in them advocating for you for future projects.

Get to know your new team and be proactive about sharing your enthusiasm. The first few months are critical in showing how you can help your team with your skills and talents. In return, make sure you build strong relationships with colleagues and people in other departments so you can learn from them too. Developing these relationships will help you grow professionally.

Learn about the culture of the company and its brand. And get familiar with the organization's strategic goals as well as the short- and long-term goals of your department.

Stay motivated and be flexible

It’s not uncommon to feel fluctuations in satisfaction or motivation during your first few months on the job. But it’s best to stay focused and to stay positive. One tip is to find motivation in small ways, like coming prepared for meetings and contributing where you can. If you’re asked to step into something challenging, treat it as an opportunity to try something new. Who knows, you may even find that the challenge becomes a passion you didn’t know you had! Your team members and manager will notice if you show them that you’re flexible, open-minded, and desire new opportunities. A willingness to help others and take on additional responsibilities won’t go unnoticed.

Never stop learning

Make sure to take every opportunity presented to you to learn something new. The more knowledge you have, the more others will seek you out for guidance, and that will make you a more valuable employee.

See if your company has a learning center with online training courses. And learning outside of the organization can be just as important. Attending online networking events, and industry webinars or conferences, is a great way to show your commitment to your job. Some organizations will even help pay for professional development. It’s a great way to invest in yourself and your future.

Even if this isn’t your dream job make sure to view it as a learning opportunity. It could become the steppingstone to your next career. Take in what you can while you’re in the position and focus on growing your network. It’s always best to leave a job with new skills that you can list on your resume and positive referrals.

Be a humble and resilient leader

The best way to turn a job into a career you love is by being resilient. It’s important to remember that nobody can beat you at being you, and to use that confidence to set your career into motion. But it’s just as important to remain humble and to give credit to those who’ve helped you along the way.

Being a leader and being a team player can be hard to do at the same time, but if you can showcase both skills, you’ll become the type of leader others want to follow.

In short, choose to be excellent, to be of service to others, to be a constant learner and to celebrate your successes and the success of others along the way.


As you transition to your new job, consider these eight steps to choosing a health insurance plan.

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