Career Advice

Staying Sharp This Summer Before Your First Day At Work

If you are a 2012 graduate and you landed a full-time job, first off – congratulations! The job market remains tough and although the unemployment rate for 2012 graduates has decreased to 7.2%, you are one of few graduates with a salary and benefits to depend on.

For most May graduates, not only have you landed a job, but your start date isn’t until the fall, leaving you with the entire summer off. Many of you probably have a summer planned of pool-side relaxation, maybe a vacation planned here or there and weekend trips to visit friends marked on your calendars. 

Without a doubt you should be celebrating your last free summer, but remember – your competition is still at work.

If all you bring to the table on your first day is a beautiful, bronzed tan, you may be kicked to the curb before you know it. Here are a few ways to stay sharp this summer:

1. Fine-tune yourself

Now is the perfect time to shape your personal brand. Just because you secured a job does not mean it is time to throw your resume and portfolio out of the window. Perfect all of your materials and be sure they are flawless and up-to-date. Believe me, you WILL need these again. Your personal brand takes constant work to maintain, but view it as the definition of yourself in a dictionary of thousands of employees. Try starting up your own blog, perhaps, or become more of an influence on your social media by sharing useful and knowledgeable information.

2. Clean it up

To be blunt – your college days are over. Pictures of you doing a keg stand at a frat party for the public to view are no longer acceptable (even though they never really were). This is not to say you have to throw out all of your precious college memories, it just means to take them off of your social media platforms. If you want respect at your new job, you have to earn it. You have worked hard to acquire your new position, it would be quite embarrassing to lose it over a snap-shot of you funneling a beer.

3. Dive into your industry

Get ahead this summer by keeping up with all of the trends in your industry. Google Reader, for example, is a great way to follow relevant articles and posts pertaining to your field. Pick and choose some of the most prominent sources to subscribe to and browse through them each day. The convenience of having all your news in one place makes it an easy one-stop-shop for diving into your industry.

 4. Hi, hello, how are you?

The networking never ends. For those of you working in a new city in the fall, get your foot in the door early. Become familiar with your surroundings and know the area in which you will be living in. It is important to talk to as many people as you can. Also, use your free time over the summer to keep in touch with all of your past employers and connections. You never know when you will need to reach out to them.

5. Solidify your routine

Rather than waiting for the first day to get your life on track, begin your good habits early. A lot of times, we use our first day on the job to be the leading factor in changing our lifestyles for the better. If you are looking forward to getting a full eight hours of sleep during the night, then accustom your body to do so prior to your first day of work. If you want to exercise three days a week after work in the fall, begin working out during that time period this summer – the proactive change will pay off now and in the fall.

Twelve weeks can fly by before you know it so begin prioritizing to make your summer a productive one. By getting ahead during these summer months, you will be an A-player coming in to your first day on the job.

How else can you stay on top this summer? What are some skills to perfect before the first day? Let us know your thoughts below.