My oldest daughter will graduate from Syracuse University this week and start her professional career next month. Here’s the advice I gave her:
1) Be professional- recognize the difference between your personal and professional life. Dress for work. Speak and write professionally. Don’t use social media for personal purposes. Never have more than one drink at a work event. Limit how much personal information you share.
2) Be thankful- recognize how fortunate you are to be given a professional opportunity. Thank those who helped you along the way. Thank those who will help you at work.
3) Be kind-don’t talk about others; leave the gossiping to others. Recognize that we all have our strengths and challenges. Remember that you were once that scared and nervous intern. Help others. Embrace diversity.
4) Work hard. Even if the task is to make 25 copies of a document, make the best damn set of copies possible. And then ask if there is more you can do to be helpful.
5) Work to understand your boss—what he/she needs, how they like to be asked questions, updated on information. It is your job to adjust your style to what they need and not the other way around.
6) Be resourceful- try to figure out things on your own. If you identify an issue be sure to also identify some possible solutions. Learn as much as you can about your department, your company, and your industry.
7) Be accountable. If you mess up, admit it and take responsibility for correcting what needs to be fixed.
8) Be honest- always. The real test of integrity is what you do when no one is looking. Be known as the person who always does the right thing, even when it is difficult.
9) Be humble-recognize that you have weaknesses and have a lot to learn. Set a yearly goal to become better at something- public speaking, building relationships, developing a professional network, working with difficult people, etc.
10) Believe in yourself. And if you ever find that you’re doubting yourself, call home. We will be there to remind you just how wonderful you are.