How to set yourself up for success in your first job

Eddie Rivera, a U.S. Bank goals coach, gives his tips to setting yourself up for success and staying motivated in your first few months in a new career.

Tags: Goals, Planning
Published: September 10, 2020

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. Eddie Rivera, a goals coach at U.S. Bank, gives tips for anyone starting out in a new position.

Set yourself up for success

Setting clear goals and being successful begins with understanding the expectations of the role you’ve accepted. Speak with your manager about their expectations and align your expectations to theirs. Having that alignment will help you feel as though you’re moving in the right direction toward achieving your goals.

Identify areas where your skills, talents and experience are best utilized. Voicing an interest and desire to grow and expand to other positions and opportunities can foster a sense of trust between you and your manager. Your manager can become the catalyst for you to be considered for a future project, especially one you are passionate about.

Eddie Rivera
Pictured above: Eddie Rivera

Get to know your new team and be proactive about sharing your enthusiasm about the opportunity that’s been presented to you. “You want to make sure you present your best foot forward, and that your energy and desire to be part of the organization is noticeable,” Eddie says. “The first few months are critical in showing your manager and teammates the best of you, your skills and talents.” Building strong partnerships with your peers and other departments will enrich your professional development as well as any potential promotional opportunities that may come up in the future. 

Learn about the culture of the company and the brand itself, including the short- and long-term goals of the department you’re in. “Once you’re embedded into the culture of the organization, you’ll become a vital member of the team. That ownership and sense of belonging could propel you into a career of exceptional quality,” says Eddie.



“You want to make sure you present your best foot forward, and that your energy and desire to be part of the organization is noticeable,” Eddie says.

Stay motivated and be flexible

You may experience fluctuations in fulfillment and motivation during your first few months on the job. Simply put: Stay the course. “Remember why you said ‘yes’ to this opportunity and why you were excited about the role in the first place,” says Eddie. Find motivation in small tasks, like coming prepared for meetings and contributing where you feel comfortable. Occasionally, you may be asked to step into something challenging, take a chance and try something new, different – that may be the hidden opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Your team members and manager will notice if you’re in tune with what’s important and that may lead to your next opportunity within the organization.

“Be flexible,” says Eddie. “Sometimes you may be asked to do something you might not be passionate about, but I’m a strong believer that sometimes these curveballs are thrown at you to show that you can be flexible, open-minded and really desire new opportunities.” Your willingness to help others and take on additional responsibilities won’t go unnoticed.  

Never stop learning

“Every opportunity to learn something new is one you should take. I can’t emphasize it enough: The more knowledgeable you become, the more others will seek your guidance and see your value because you’ve developed knowledge, skills and talents they would like to acquire as well,” says Eddie. Learning outside of the organization can be just as important as taking on new tasks. Attend online networking events, industry webinars or conferences and show your company that you’re interested in doing so. Some organizations even contribute financially to these types of professional development programs. Make sure to ask your manager or access the company’s Learning Center for any online training courses. You'll be making an investment in you and your future.

It’s possible that this job didn’t turn out to be the one you dreamed about or perhaps you’ve accepted the job for purely financial reasons. Even if that’s the case, you should view it as a learning opportunity. Recognize what you can learn while in the position, and use it as a time to grow your network. Who knows, it could become the steppingstone to your next career. When you’re ready for the next step, you’ll have positive referrals and new skills to list on your resume, or better yet, utilize those new skills you learned in the position.

Be a humble and resilient leader

Eddie’s tips for turning the job you love into a career is simple and powerful: “Be resilient, let the work become your passion, work hard and be humble. Be grateful, stay focused and be eager to learn.” It’s important to remember that nobody can beat you at being you, and to use that motivation and confidence to set your career into motion. But it’s just as important to remain humble and give credit to those who’ve helped you along the way. Being a leader and being a team player are two characteristics that can be hard to display simultaneously, but it’s imperative to consistently exemplify both every step of the way if you want to become the type of leader others want to follow.   

“Choose the positives: 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,” says Eddie. 


“Be resilient, let the work become your passion, work hard and be humble. Be grateful, stay focused and be eager to learn.”


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