The Unwritten Rules: Entry Level Positions and Your Professional Self

Written by Lilly Segura

So you are fresh out of college and you have just landed your entry level position. Congrats! A whole new world lies right before you, as well as a whole new set of unwritten rules. Below I have provided 5 rules to aid your first expedition into the professional world.  Some of the rules may prompt you to crown me Captain Obvious, others may even seem silly, but nonetheless these are key factors that people have been prone to forget.  

1. Learn to assess your environment

Sometimes being a rookie can stink – the maverick associates may crack a joke or the previous newbie may give you the stink eye. Do not take these things to heart. Getting to know everyone can take time and its important to be patient as you adjust to the new work environment. Part of learning your new surroundings is assessing what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. So be sure to keep this in mind as adapting to your new company is just as important as your initial tasks and training!

2. Some words are better left unsaid

On Monday morning you may want to share your weekend and retell the events that transpired while you were standing in line at the Funky Soul Club and that is okay! A personable approach and building camaraderie within the work setting are always great. However, there are moments when these tales can be a wee bit inappropriate. Sometimes, people have the propensity to say or share a little more than they should in the work place. It is also important to keep in mind that in cases where your sentences starts with, “I don’t want to be a jerk but,” or, “I don’t mean to sound blankety blank but…” you may not want to finish that sentence. Remember that no matter where you are – be it at a business conference in Miami, on a lunch meeting with a client, or chatting with a coworker in the bathroom – you are an extension of your employer and should do your best to represent your company’s name to the best of your abilities with courtesy and poise.

3. Follow proper protocol

Familiarize yourself with the employer’s policies and procedures. One of the easiest ways to make a newbie mistake is being ignorant of these rules! To contractors – when you are working with a staffing company, it is not only important to know your place of work’s rules, but the staffing company’s policies as well. When in doubt about a particular situation, it is always helpful to keep both your supervisor and your staffing company in the loop; as the immediate supervisor or manager may not be familiar with contractor protocols. The safest bet for everyone is to learn all rules about operating as a professional within the new company.

4. Hygiene & dress code

I know what you are thinking – you do not need me to tell you to shower or that certain shirts (low, low cut) are inappropriate, but oh yes, I do! I have heard a few stories in my day that would (hopefully!) be shocking to professionals of every industry. Keeping your body clean and dressing appropriately are self-evident truths that we all can and should agree upon. This is so basic and imperative, it is akin to forgetting to bring your resume on a first interview, but worse since odors can be much more offensive. Big no no!

5. Have fun!

Get involved! Whether that is a company’s Fantasy Football League, walk-a-thon, or volunteering – just do it! It may sound a little dorky, but you never know what you might miss by standing on the sideline.  Your job does not have to be all work. Get in there and have fun!

No excuses, you have been informed! Stay tuned for next month’s Unwritten Rules! For more content check out our Facebook and Twitter! Also, if you would like to reach out to one of our offices the contact information is here.