What You’re Doing Wrong at Your First Job

careertips13-150x150Employers are looking to hire talented and motivated students and new grads for internships and full-time careers, but they cringe when they see these common mistakes.  Avoid the five common errors listed below and make yourself more competitive among your peers!

“Nobody asked me to do that”

Passing off blame is not a way to garner greater responsibility in your new position.  Instead, keep your head up and eyes open, and see how you can contribute, even if you are not explicitly asked to do so.  If you make a mistake, don’t waste time trying to justify it.  Correct your error, learn from the experience, and move on.

“I work best late at night”

Although it’s a good practice to not be the first one to leave, there’s no prize for being the last one at the office.  Studies show that people are most productive in the morning, so you’re not doing yourself or your company any favors by closing up shop at 3 a.m.  Instead, try arriving at the office earlier in the day when you are best able to complete complicated tasks!

“I emailed him, but I haven’t heard back”

If you want to talk to someone, pick up the phone!  It’s much easier to ignore an email, especially when studies show most people can only process 50 emails a day but receive an average of 150.

“I feel pretty confident about my career prospects”

No matter how talented you are, you can always learn new skills to make you more competitive in you field.  This may mean learning new technical skills like computer programming and web design through online programs, or buffering your analytical abilities by keeping up on the news and reading books for pleasure.

“I figure I’ll leave in a year or so anyway”

Jumping between short-term jobs puts you at a disadvantage for a number of reasons.  Not only are you less invested in building relationships with your colleagues or seeking out mentors in your field, you are neglecting valuable skill acquisition that experts say does not come until after two to three years on the job.  Future employers will also want to see that you can demonstrate loyalty to their company, which will be hard to do if you have a history of jumping between firms.

Adapted from “20 Things 20-Year-Olds Don’t Get” by DocStoc founder Jason Nazar.