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Five Ways to Raise the Bar in Your First Six Months

The first six months of your career are incredibly important. Throughout this period, you are setting expectations for what people can expect from you, and also what you can expect from yourself. You are learning a ton about your company and co-workers and simultaneously establishing the habits and work-ethic that can make or break a career.

When I had my first six-month review as an account coordinator at Text100, it was great to receive feedback from a number of colleagues and clients. It was also a great opportunity to reflect on my own about what has gone well since I began and what I could still improve upon.

When you land your first job after college, consider these tips to excel during the first six months of your new job.

Be Present

Of course, it is (or should be) a given that you are physically at work when you need to be. But that isn’t exactly what I mean by being present.

This tip applies much more broadly. For example – if your company hosts happy hour events, you should be there. If your colleagues participate in volunteering opportunities, fundraising efforts, fantasy-football leagues, etc., try to be a part of the fun.

Being present extends to the online realm, as well. If your company is active on social networks, you should do your best to be active in those communities.

Raise your hand

Raise your hand whenever it’s possible to get involved in something. This could be in the form of new business pitches, helping out a team with some work that needs to be turned around on a tight deadline, or more operational activities like joining an HR committee or holiday party planning committee.

Not only will raising your hand and saying “yes” show your colleagues your flexibility and dependability, you will also be exposed to more projects and activities. Ultimately, you will learn more and be a more-rounded professional.

Ask questions

You’re young and you’re new; nobody expects you to jump into the job already knowing how to do everything. And, frankly, if you did – it probably wouldn’t be a challenging enough job for you in the first place.

Admitting when you need some extra help and guidance shows a level of maturity to your colleagues, and it makes it much more likely that you will deliver exactly what they need from you.

Make suggestions  

Diversity is important in every workplace. Don’t forget that part of what you have going for you as a young professional is that you come from a different background than some of your more senior colleagues. Your different training and unique mix of experiences can sometimes allow you to see opportunities for change that others can’t. You could be the change catalyst needed to improve long-standing policies and processes.

Making suggestions in a very respectful way signals to others that you are thinking critically about the business, and that you care enough about constant improvement to put your own reputation on the line.

Have a side-hustle

Much has been said about the benefits of working on something else other than your typical “day-job” work. In fact, some forward-looking companies even allow employees to use a certain percentage of their time on the job to work on other things important to each individual.

While you may not work at Google or Apple, you should still be using some of your personal time to foster a hobby or develop new skills. That could take the form of blogging, volunteering for your local PRSA chapter or practicing your graphic design skills.

What other tips would you provide for new professionals just starting out in PR?

**This post was originally published on PRSA's The Edge blog

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