I’ve recently been on the college recruitment circuit for my company, speaking with hundreds of students at several universities, many of whom are seeking internships or their first “real job” once they’ve earned their degree and are ready to conquer the world.
And it surprises me that while these students have impressive interpersonal skills, great academic credentials and applicable part-time and summer jobs…many lack confidence. Confidence that they can/will bring value to their new employer. After all, companies are full of experienced staff that know far more than they do about whatever it is their profession entails. What could they possibly bring that isn’t already being provided by experienced members of the team?
Whoa, stop right there young Skywalker. As one of those “experienced” members of staff I know there are LOTS of skills and qualities you can bring to your new employer. Character qualities that might be the very reason they are on a college campus in the first place, interviewing students for entry level roles.
So take a deep breath, push that 5-hour energy aside (you don’t need it), and calmly read and memorize the attributes I’ve noted below.
- New Eyes –Once you’ve been with an organization for a while, people get in the groove. Those things that were peculiar to them or that they felt could/should be done differently become the new normal. You see, one of the greatest attributes that a newbie can bring to the company is a fresh perspective. You’re in the unique position to challenge the status quo, offer up new ideas and question almost everything. It’s really hard to play that role once you’ve got some tenure in the company. So use your New Eyes while you’ve got them.
- Drive, Unbridled Enthusiasm – New employees typically enter their new employer with an intense willingness and desire to prove themselves. To their supervisor, to their team and to the company. I’m not saying that tenured staff don’t bring this to their employers too, just not in the same dose and intensity that new employees often do.
- Adaptable, Learns Quickly – Turn what you might perceive as a weakness (I don’t know how things work around here) into a strength. Because your mind isn’t cluttered with “this is the right way to do things” you can more quickly adapt and learn new approaches, processes and actions. Tenured employees can sometimes get stuck in “I’ve always done it this way” and therefore can be resistant to change. Not you, and that can be an advantage.
- Reliability, Availability – It amazes me how taken for granted being reliable can be these days. Raising your hand to support a project, and being available when others aren’t can be a huge differentiator. You aren’t yet bogged down with to-do’s and a day job. Take the time in your early days of employment to support someone who is overloaded, lead a project no one can find time to work on, and fill gaps that no one else will. If you can be counted on to do the work no one else has time for, you’ll deliver instant value and set yourself up to impress people quickly.
Now that you’ve got these differentiators firmly in your grasp, puff out your chest and confidently walk to the next booth at the career fair. Of the hundreds of employers, they are all trying to find you. That newbie who will come in, ask all the right questions, and deliver instantaneous value.
Good luck to you young Skywalker, the force is strong within you.
Ed’s a career HR front man who’s advised business owners and the C-suite on developing great cultures and inspiring work environments since the profession was called “personnel.” Yeah, that makes him seasoned but also quick to call out the fluffy HR theoretical crap from HR strategies that actually work.
His versatility has taken him all over the world, continually acquiring knowledge of how to build a great company through innovative HR practices, learning mostly from real world experience and his own mistakes.
He’s the founder of HRO Partners, a HR consulting firm that specializes in guiding leaders on what they need and don’t need from HR for their business.