Congrats! You have graduated college and landed that coveted first job. You can almost hear the sigh of relief from your family and friends. You are on your way to financial independence and hopefully off your parent’s payroll. You are done. Right?

Not so fast.

The demands of school may be behind you for now, but the workplace has a whole different set of expectations and etiquette. Now that you are a college graduate who landed the job, how do you make an impact and ace the job?

Here are 5 tips to accelerate your career:

#1 – It’s Not About You

You got the job offer and you have ideas on how to get things done. However, you were hired to help the company achieve their goals. Think about how you can help your boss and colleagues achieve success. Are you bored? Think your work is not meaningful? Put full effort into your assignments and offer help to peers and more experienced colleagues. This will lead to more responsibility. You will be amazed how this can propel you forward.

#2 – Communicate Effectively

As a recent graduate, you are savvy on how to use technology to communicate. However, the corporate world often uses “old school” ways of communicating as standard practice.

  • Colleagues will meet with you in-person to discuss projects. Prepare for meetings and remember to take notes. Show up early! Every meeting is an opportunity to learn something valuable about your company and your job.
  • E-mail is still a dominant form of communication in the workplace. This requires a concise, well-written note with proper spelling and grammar. The expectation is that you will check e-mail often – like every half hour. Every e-mail should be sent with the expectation that it may be copied or forwarded to any level of staff or outside the company.
  • Brush up on your phone etiquette because a lot of business is done by “speaking and calling” over the phone. There may even be a phone on your desk with a cord. Don’t be frightened – it works just fine. Every call should be answered with a proper greeting that identifies you and the company such as, “Thanks for calling Google, this is Joe. How may I help you?”

#3 – Manage Your Expectations…And Your Boss

When you received the job offer out of college, you were promised access to clients or working on exciting projects. However, the reality is that you may be filing papers and taking notes during meetings. These things need to get done and your boss is counting on you to execute. If you want more responsibility, you need to set expectations early on with your boss about what you hope to achieve and get exposure to. Track your accomplishments so you can share them on your performance reviews. Likewise, you need to exceed your boss’ expectations of you. The only way to know if you are on track is to ask.

# 4 – Seek a Mentor

In addition to your boss, it is helpful to find a mentor. A mentor is someone who can give you advice, answer questions or direct you on how to successfully navigate the business. Take note of peers or other leaders in the business who inspire you or set a great example. Set up an informational interview with them to learn how they have achieved success in their position and forge a professional ongoing relationship with them.

#5 – Everything Comes Around

The peers that you meet at your first job tend to show up at different times in your career. Remember to be professional, polite and gracious to everyone you meet… especially to receptionists, support staff and other employees. They are often the eyes and ears of the business and they know how to get stuff done. You never know when you will need that testimonial from a colleague or when that person shows up one day as your new boss. You hope that you treated them well.

A first job is an exciting time. Learn new things, take risks and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Show up on time, be curious and make the most of your opportunity. It may not be perfect but remember, your career is a marathon, not a sprint. Good luck!

If you would like to learn more about how Next Great Step helps college students and grads to land the job and excel in their career visit