Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, May 26, 2023

A few tips for new graduates on fitting in at the office

It’s that time of year when graduates have just received their college diplomas and are heading into the world of work. First, if you haven’t found a job yet, know it’s not just you. This isn’t the easiest year to graduate.

You might need to roll up your sleeves and try creative job search methods. But, once you do land a job, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to succeed.

As a new graduate, you were likely in college during the pandemic. You might have taken classes online. And, if you were fortunate enough to have an internship, it might have been online, too.

Unfortunately, this means you might have missed a few lessons about working in an office environment. And as much as we all love remote work, many companies are asking employees to come back to the physical office at least a few days a week.

There are a number of unwritten rules of work that you need to learn. First, appearances matter (unfortunately). For example, some of your co-workers will judge your value based on the time that you arrive in the morning and depart at night. If they don’t see your face enough, they may assume you aren’t working or that you’re lazy.

The good news is that being on time can be an easy way to earn bonus points.

It’s important to observe social norms at work. Some companies prefer in-person meetings, while others prefer to meet online via Zoom or Teams. When meeting with Zoom or Teams, some companies prefer that video is turned on, while others prefer it to be turned off. There is no right or wrong way to conduct meetings. The most important thing is to follow the lead of your colleagues.

Pay attention to what people are wearing. Even when you’re working from home, it’s important to look presentable. This does not mean that you have to dress up every day. But, if your colleagues are not wearing hooded sweatshirts to the office, you shouldn’t be either.

Email is an important method of communication at work. When you send emails, you should start by addressing the person by name. Starting an email without a salutation should be saved for casual conversations with friends.

Hierarchy at work also is very important, especially when you are young. In other words, your direct boss and your peers are your best points of contact for most issues. If you need to escalate something to your direct boss’ supervisor, it’s best to discuss with your boss first. Going directly above their head can cause issues that you would not have intended to cause.

Last but not least, keep talk about your parents to a minimum. In the world of work, you’re expected to do your own. If mom or dad is helping you at home, keep that information to yourself.

Angela Copeland, a leadership and career expert, can be reached at www.angelacopeland.com.