5 Tips for Preparing for Your First Job

5 Tips for Preparing for Your First Job

The idea of full-time employment evokes a range of emotions for the young twenty-something. It’s both promising and frightening, exciting and monotonous, empowering and constraining. I’ve felt all of those emotions and more as I contemplate the start of my career, which is barreling toward me as October rolls around. 

Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a few months at home before I start my job and move to a new city. This has given me plenty of time to reflect, relax, and revitalize. I’ve seen the majority of my friends start their jobs, from those working 80 hours a week on Wall Street to those working in the laid-back music business in Nashville. When I FaceTime my friends, they all promise that adulthood is just as good, if not better than college (except my friend at law school, but that’s another story). I’m a bit skeptical on their sentiments because I absolutely loved college, but I’ll withhold ultimate judgment until I too join the ranks of the working world. 

With my time at home, I’ve been able to prepare for starting my job and moving cities. This has helped me ease the angst I have about beginning a new job and also allows me to ensure a smooth transition (going from having no responsibility to having a ton of responsibility won’t be easy!).

Here are a few things I’ve considered and researched to prepare for the start of my career: 

1. Know your company.

Ask yourself questions about the vibe of the company.

  • Do you need to wear a suit everyday or is it casual?
  • What will your hours be?
  • Is there parking at your office?

It helps to talk to a recruiter, friend at the company, or even Google to find out the details of your job. Plus, talking to people at the company can help you figure out what to expect from your new job. I find that talking to a friend who works the company or emailing with the recruiter can answer a lot of simple questions and make you feel prepared beforehand. Definitely poke around the company website too if you haven’t to see if there is any more information! 

2. Research location.

  • Will you live near your office and be able to walk or take the subway?
  • Or will you need to drive?
  • Are there lunch spots nearby or coffee shops?
  • How long will your commute take?

Along with these questions to ask yourself, research the area where you’re going to live to find out the nearest gyms, grocery stores, public transit, and anything else you might need on a regular basis. I usually do a practice run of the route from my place to work so I know how long it will take. Google maps is the perfect option to scroll around the area and see what options are available. 

3. Keep track of paperwork.

I’ve gotten an overwhelming amount of emails from my office about security forms, payment, work history, and everything in between. It’s important to make sure you stay on top of this stuff so you can actually start your job. Beyond that, you might want to consider updating your resume and LinkedIn (if you have one) with your new position. If you’re feeling extra excited, maybe make some business cards to whip out when you see someone worthy of your cell phone number! 

4. Get a handle on your personal finances.

One of the first things I did this summer was make a budget for myself. There are tons of templates online or even apps that can do this for you, but I went old school and used an excel spreadsheet. Beyond that, I took it upon myself to educate myself on important things: what is a 401k? Does my job match my retirement savings? How do I open a credit card account? I had a total fail moment when I got denied for a credit card because I didn’t have enough of a credit history. Luckily I had time to figure out an alternative solution before needing to use a card. Money podcasts are a great resources to learn how to manage your money and are incredibly inspiring - one of my favorites is So Money with Farnoosh Torabi. 

5. Find a self-care routine. 

It’s exciting to think about working 40+ hours at week at a new company and the prospect of making a big impact. But often times it’s easy to neglect self-care, as I’m sure many of us have seen during college finals (deodorant counts as a shower, right?).  Figure out what is your self-care savior and schedule a standing date with yourself each day/week. For me, I need to go the gym otherwise I’ll rip someone’s head off, so I’ve started figuring out when will be best for me to workout. 

Starting your first big-kid job is a milestone moment, don’t snooze on getting your life together before you start hustling! 


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