Top 15 Tips for New Professionals

Top Tips for New Professionals

Georgetown prepares its graduates to be men and women for others. To work toward social impact. To think. To analyze.  To dissect. To debate. To learn. To explore. To synthesize. To question.

I am continually amazed, even after 8 years of working at Georgetown, just how impressive our students are. They are literally building wells in Africa, starting companies, solving medical problems, creating national headlines, and leading movements for change.  They are smart. Educated. Thoughtful. Accomplished.  Socially conscious. Skilled.

As well as Georgetown prepares students to leave the Hilltop, the fact remains that going from backpack to briefcase, campus to corporate, can be eye-opening.  Even if you’re smart. Even if you’re accomplished.

Here are a few tips, based on the benefit of hindsight, as our seniors begin to think about leaving the Hilltop in a few short months:

1. Under promise, over deliver.  Manage expectations.

2. Good news travels fast, bad news travels faster.  Your boss doesn’t want to be the last to know. Say sorry.

3.  Be hungry. Come in early, stay late. You won’t always have the luxury of time but you do now.

4. Send thank you notes. Your mom was right.  They go a long way.

5. Dress for the job you want. Not the one you have. Leave the bar-wear at home.

6. Find a mentor/advocate/sponsor. And know the difference.  And know that you don’t need a signed piece of paper and a handshake to have someone be your mentor. They may not even realize it. And that’s ok.

7.  Learn to navigate ambiguity. Don’t let it paralyze your progress. Keep moving.

8.  Do your time.  You may not get a promotion in 6 months, or even a year.  Manage your own expectations of success based on your company culture, industry, and position.

9.  Re-learn how to write.   You’re not writing your thesis or history lit review.  Keep it short and sweet.

10.  Steer clear of the office gossip.  It will do you no good and it may actually be bad for your career.

11.  Anticipate needs.  Of your boss, your teammates. It sets you apart.

12.  Start to think about your personal and professional brand.  You get to reinvent yourself when you start your first job and you don’t get that opportunity very often.

13.  Manage up.

14.  Be confident. You went to Georgetown.  You are smart. You were hired for a reason.

15. Be humble.  Just because you went to Georgetown doesn’t mean you have all the answers. Know what you don’t know.

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