Everyone starts somewhere, and even if your first job isn’t one you plan on keeping for years and years, it can be a valuable experience that informs everything that follows. That’s according to Lauren Berger, founder of the website Intern Queen and author of two books, the most recent of which is called “Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career.” Berger is young, but she’s become something a career expert, since she left her first job to start the website that’s made her famous. In a post for Forbes, writer Laura Shin picks Bergen’s brain and lists “6 Tips for Making a Good Impression at Your First Job.”
As is often the case with these types of career stories, Bergen’s advice doesn’t simply apply to new grads or people entering the workforce. It’s great for anyone looking to win points with their bosses and generally have a positive work experience. Read to see what Bergen suggests.
1. Show a Little Confidence — There’s a tendency among young workers — but really, among everyone — to fear making mistakes. It’s never fun to flub a big assignment, but you can’t dwell on mistakes. The key, Bergen writes, is to focus on the good things you’ve done and keep on putting yourself out there.
2. Embrace Being Uncomfortable — Succeeding rarely means taking the safe path, and as Berger says, you’ve got to be willing to challenge yourself and enter into difficult situations. It’s like a camp counselor once told her: “It’s the time when you are out of your comfort zone that you grow the most as a person.”
3. Also, Embrace Rejection — This goes along with the last one. Occasionally — or perhaps even often — you’re going to pitch ideas that won’t go anywhere. The higher-ups will shoot you down cold. But that’s OK, Berger says.”Rejection doesn’t mean never,” she writes, “it just means not right now.” When you swing and miss, think about all the times you’ve fared well, and learn from the experience.
4. Show Good Follow-Through — It’s one thing to have big ideas. Executing them is another story. As Berger writes, if you can take stock of your resources and actually make things happen, you’re in a great position to think big and win fans at the office.
5. Remember: It’s Not Personal — Sometimes, the boss is going to be in a bad mood. It’s probably not you. Keep your head down and do your job.
6. Make Time for Yourself — In these go-go-go times, it’s easy to, well, go and go without taking a break and relaxing. As Berger writes, you should leave time to enjoy your life. If you don’t want people emailing you at midnight, don’t answer emails at midnight. It’s about setting boundaries and learning to say no.