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Class Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Career Curve


What is it like to be new on the job? We’ve all been there and probably will be again. Our advising team in the Career Services Center staff has been asked to deliver a number of talks on this topic lately, and we are always pleased to help our students and alumni apply strategies that will help them be a star on the job. So, I dedicate this Career Curve to any of our readers looking for five tips to shine as a new hire.

1. Adopt the right attitudes. Nothing derails a reputation more quickly than getting lost in the organizational gossip circuit. Be respectful of others. Express genuine willingness to learn. Understand that though you may be talented, you have much to learn and some dues to pay.

2. Build effective relationships. With so many new tasks, systems and procedures to learn, it is easy to forget that none of those things actually make the organization work. It’s the people behind them that do. Take time to get to know people in the workplace, especially people who model the kind of behavior and performance that one day you’d like to call your own.

3. Figure out the organization’s culture. You won’t find this on the Web site or in the annual report. The culture is really all the “around here-isms.” Around here we celebrate each other’s birthdays. Around here we work ’til we get the job done. Around here we dress casually on Fridays. You get the idea. Be sensitive to these organizational cues and you’ll fit in with greater ease.

4. Avoid the big splash. It almost doesn’t make sense that you should pace your rise to stardom during your first months on the job. Remember, no one likes a show-off,
and if you peak too soon, you’ll struggle to apply tips #2
and #3 above.

5. Become a good follower. We spend so much time in college developing leadership skills, it can become a bit of a challenge to, at times, step back and let someone else lead. But this is often what new positions call for. The art of “followership” calls us to determine the real expectations of those who supervise us, then go about meeting and eventually surpassing those expectations.

For more information,

visit http://career.ucsd.edu/sa/alumnpage.shtml.

Andrew Ceperley has worked in higher education for 20 years and has been director of UC San Diego’s Career Services Center since 2003. The Center provides career development, job search, and graduate school prep assistance to nearly 1,000 alumni each year, with an emphasis on the University’s most recent alumni (up to
five years). Visit career.ucsd.edu for more information about alumni services.

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