Welcome to the Real World

When graduation finally rolled around (for me it seemed so fast and so slow at the same time!), I thought I would be relieved. Finally. No school, no exams, no group projects. Instead, I was stressed about finding the “perfect” job and freaked out over being thrown into the Real World. Even with a bit of a head start starting my blog while still in school, my safety net was absolutely ripped out from under me. Well, us. Most of my friends felt like they were in the same position. Even with the best internships under their belts, they felt nervous about starting a first real job.
Lauren Berger, also known as “The Intern Queen,” has shared her tips for internships on TCP before… Now she’s back with a new book about nailing your first job. To celebrate the release of her book, she offered to share some extra tips for TCP readers. I could not agree more with her advice!
Top 5 Ways to Stand Out at Work
First jobs aren’t easy and figuring out how to get promoted also isn’t easy. My first job was tough. My first boss was tough. But I learned so much from the experience. In my new book, Welcome to the Real World, I talk about ways to be successful in that first, second, or third job after graduation. Here are some tips on how to get promoted at work.
1. Assume that No One Does Their Job. I know, this sounds incredibly negative – but hear me out. In order to make sure that you are constantly double checking everything that you schedule and coordinate and to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, assume that the people you are working with aren’t doing their jobs. This will make sure triple confirm things and go out of your way to make sure you stay in control at all times.
2. Be Armed with Information. You want to be fully loaded with information at all times. If your boss asks you about a project or why a meeting got cancelled you always want to have an answer ready. Your boss shouldn’t be able to stump you or ask you a question that you don’t know the answer to. Be in the loop and have as much information as possible at all times.
3. Take Perfect Notes. Write everything down clearly and have a system in place to organize your notes. If your boss feels like you aren’t in control of your workload and you aren’t organized, they aren’t going to want to promote you. They need to feel like you are in control of the ship at all times. Never assume that you will “just remember.” Always write everything down and have a system to review your notes and insert them onto your to-do list.
4. Network Internally. Everyone is great at networking when they are looking for jobs but they stop as soon as they land the job. Networking should never stop. Make sure that when you land that first job you are doing everything you can to networking internally and externally. Give yourself a goal and introduce yourself to at least 1-2 new people at the company every week. It’s important to get “face time” with different executives in the office. They need to know your name just in case it comes up in conversations.

5. Communicate Your Goals. Your boss isn’t a mind reader. They don’t know exactly what you want to do at the company until you tell them. During your next evaluation, ask your boss for advice on whatever your ideal next step within the company might be. Make sure you leave the conversation confident that your boss knows your goals.

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Great advice! As someone about to graduate and start her first job I'm a little bit nervous to say the least. I'll have to check out her book! 🙂


Love that advice! I am in grad school, and I have a slight advantage in the job department when I graduate. We have to take 3 semesters on internship while in school because we work with clients (I am in the counseling field). If we do well in our internships, a lot of them hire us when we graduate.

Lydia B.

Thank you so much for this post! I'm in this place right now and I'm glad I'm not the only one freaking out! I'll definitely be reading this book!


Getting internships this summer has been a trip to the real world to say the least. I have never had a real job outside of family run businesses so it is extremely stressful! I am so nervous to be out on my own etc. but I think it will help me push past my boundaries. Love this post!

A College Confession


This post couldn't have come at a better time…I'm about 9 months in at my first big girl job in NYC and am really missing the freedom of college lately! These tips are so applicable and helpful – thanks for the reminder! Keep up the great blog, you are such an inspiration!

xxoo, Whit @


Hi Carly,
I love that you have a guest blogger and that she is giving the support we all wished for when we started our jobs, but I have to say that I respectfully disagree with two of them.

1. Assume nobody does their job – I agree with the spirit of it, making sure you are on your toes, but I think that learning and being willing to act as part of a team is more important. Why make life harder by doing multiple jobs when you can earn trust and learn the importance of teamwork. Most companies are looking to their employees to be efficient – and teamwork makes the dream work.

2. Be Armed with Information – I agree, be as knowledgable as possible, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with not knowing an answer. If it is truly a first job, you SHOULDN'T know everything (or else you'd be the boss already). When you don't know the answer, take it as a learning opportunity, respectfully say "I don't know, but I can find out for you" and get to it.