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The Top Mistakes Grads Make When Entering the Workforce

Even more interesting than those college years are the few years that follow. We’ll venture to say that when you’re in the throes of your college career, you feel confident, full of energy… you’re learning and applying what you’re learning, you’re outshining peers in your class, having fun while you’re doing it, and what could be more exciting? However, once you step foot outside of the University doors with your cap and gown, you find yourself somewhat of a needle in a haystack.

How successful will you be? Your competitors have great educations and loads of experience. Will you make it in the real world? This stark juxtaposition that occurs in relatively little time often causes grads to make some pretty crucial mistakes when they enter the workforce fresh out of college. Here are those mistakes…


Lacking Confidence

 We say “lacking confidence” as one huge mistake, because it brings along with it a whole plethora of mistakes that could otherwise be avoided. Insecurity is palpable, and many grads learn that the hard way when they don’t get the job because they sell themselves short. Another big “insecurity” issue? Not negotiating salary. New grads should always enter into a prospective job with a great understanding of typical salary as well as what they actually need.

Rule of thumb – when you get an offer, always think about it overnight and counter with a respectful request for more money. (Request being the keyword, not demand). Even if your request is denied, you will have earned some street cred by showing your knowledge of the industry as well as a little confidence.


Too Much Confidence

Another big generalized mistake that is comprised of many, many issues? Showing too much confidence (otherwise known as arrogance). As a recent grad, stay humble; keep in mind that you lack years of priceless industry experience, and that’s just the name of the game. Too much confidence may mean you simply don’t ask questions and make many mistakes.

It may mean you don’t take a salary that you feel isn’t quite high enough, though it’s above industry standards. It may mean you consider yourself above “grunt work” that’s pretty standard for just starting out. There’s a balance to strike when it comes to confidence, and you really need to find it.


Not Acting Professionally

It’s true that these days, work cultures look differently. Blue jeans and graphic tee’s are completely acceptable in some workspaces. What you never want to do, however, is make an assumption about appropriate clothing: “Oh, these holey jeans will be just fine”. Do your best to stay on the professional side of the dress code, even if it is pretty lax – especially as a newbie.

What’s one other incredibly unprofessional behavior that many new grads take on? Gossiping or complaining to fit in. The ramifications for this are quite obvious, and while most people may be doing it, you’ll stand out head and shoulders from the rest if you’re the one who doesn’t.


Not Being Relational

We get that you could get the job done on your own, without ever involving anyone else or having to say “thanks” for collaborating, but this just isn’t good sense. Be efficient where you can, sure, but don’t miss opportunities to collaborate with others and build relationships, as this is a longterm investment into your career. Being relational and polite in the workplace is a pivotal part of your success, it’s just a fact.



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