Post-Grad Predicaments: 6 Things You Should Track Once Employed
By Blair Bedford
After months and months of searching for the right position that fits your level of education, qualifications and abilities, you finally land your first “real” job. This is one of the many crucial steps in beginning your professional life and gaining all that “experience” everyone keeps talking about. Once you finally find that first job worth being called a career, keep in mind these very important things to keep track of and things to do to make the most out of your new opportunity for your future benefit:
1. Keep any important work-related documents
It might be difficult to remember to save important documents like your pay stubs (if you receive them by paper) once the check comes in, but paperwork like this and other information might be valuable to keep, especially during your first year of employment. Besides referring to these important documents for reference while filing taxes or keeping track of earnings and deductions, keeping documentation like your check information and more could also help you in case you decide to apply for a new position, a loan or if you’re looking to move into a new place. But if you decide not to keep your work information, make sure it is disposed of in the right way to avoid having your personal info used by someone other than you. Shredding is always a great disposal method for all your juicy information.
2. Keep in touch with mentors, former colleagues and supervisors, professional acquaintances and other references
Acknowledging the people in your life who have helped you grow professionally is crucial once you land the job of your dreams. They have been there to help you with recommendation letters, giving you advice on how to create an effective resume and became your professional networking “village,” giving you job leads in your field when you needed other alternatives besides the traditional job search. A quick email, Facebook or LinkedIn message, or an “old-fashioned” letter saying thanks says that you are appreciative for their help and would love to stay connected. It will also keep the lines of communication open for further advice or maybe even another job lead that fits you. Keep this alliteration in mind: burning bridges is bad for business.
3. Track your online profiles—all of them
Yes, you might have just finished college and that last big party of the semester was fully captured on video and is now on Facebook, or maybe you just left a job for another and you just had to tweet how you “really” felt about upper management at the last job. Okay, express yourself, honey, but don’t let your personal life kill your chances for longevity in your profession. Don’t let your Facebook profile picture or your tweets on Twitter dictate who you are professionally and cost you the job. ESPECIALLY IF YOU WORK IN EDUCATION. Even though they are personal profiles, websites like these are the deadly webs we weave around our own success when it comes to the pictures we display from that one “night” at the bar, the tweets and pics we post during our 9-5 when that big project is due, and linking every online profile to each other. Be mindful of how you want to be presented personally and professionally on all of your online profiles, especially if you have Facebook friends or Twitter followers who are co-workers and colleagues. If you must, protect your tweets and Facebook profile and try to avoid updating your status while at the office. That sure doesn’t give off the “I’m busy right now” vibe to those watching.
4. Track your spending habits
Finally having a salary-paying position can make reckless spending a real bad habit during your first year of employment, a habit that you don’t necessarily want to end “cold turkey” in the wake of economic situations like loan payments and sudden unemployment. Keeping track of your spending habits as you start racking up those big checks can be beneficial in the long-term scope of things. A tracking list of your bills, investments and purchases, both big and small, can help you notice certain trends (like excessive shopping or dining out) that you might need to break in order to grow financially. Try finding alternatives to random and unnecessary spending, like spending more money on groceries to cook meals that will last during the week than take-out that will be digested and done before you know it. Staying on top of your spending in the beginning could save you a lot of money in the end for something more substantial. Say, a vacation or a new car?
5. Keep track of your “true” passion
A well-paying job during these economic times is difficult to come by after only a short period of time, but just because you landed the job doesn’t mean your true passion should be put on the shelf to collect dust. It’s always important to never lose sight of what you truly want to do as a career, even if your new job is paying the bills well. If your new job gives you that satisfaction, then you are at the starting line of your career. If your new job isn’t exactly what you pictured your professional life to look like, keep working hard, show your worth and continue to grow until you can combine what you’ve learned in the workforce with what you love. But you never know: your new, current job might become your future career.
6. Start Widening Your Network
Never get too comfortable where you’re at, especially if you know that your current position is not the passion you have as discussed in point five. Get your business cards made and start attending networking events occasionally after work. On top of that, when you meet new people in your field of work, whether while out networking or just moving around doing business, pass out your cards and start creating new acquaintances who can you can help and who can possibly help you out in the future.
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