At Cogo, it’s part of our mission to be the best the absolute best place for early-career entrepreneurs. We spend a lot of time perfecting how we can motivate, accelerate, and excite people at any point in their career, but especially love helping people launch their careers. With internships ending and the school year quickly approaching, we thought it would be great to give our tips and recommendations on how to succeed in your first job and how we help facilitate that process here at Cogo.
Create and use a plan for your first 30/60/90 days on the job.
Although it might seem intimidating to have open and honest conversations about your goals and progress with your manager, transparency is the key to getting the most out of your career. This 1-3 month period of time is the perfect opportunity to get clear about your role and any expectations your managers have that might not necessarily be written out in the job description. These check-ins can be used as an opportunity to bring up new ideas or areas of interest you might not have discussed during the interview process. Lastly, don’t stress about these check-ins. It’s not expected you know everything about everything at this point, so slow down, enjoy the process, and really lean into your role!
Identify opportunities for continued learning and growth
Just because you’re out of college doesn’t mean you stop learning new and relevant information. Talk to other colleagues or managers about conferences, courses, or networking events where you can learn more about your role. In addition to outside learning opportunities, utilize internal resources to your advantage in growing in your position. You can ask someone in the office to get coffee with you, learn about an experienced employee’s career path, or even ask questions about different roles and departments to help inform you about new ideas. In our office at Cogo we have monthly ENHANCE courses, led by Carolyn Kirkman, our Learning and Development Manager. These courses have included topics like stress management, how to network, and effective written communication. These classes can help you become a more well-rounded professional and continue to show your manager that you seek chances to grow.
Learn to walk before you run
With so many opportunities to dive into new projects and work with other teams, it can be tempting to try to work on everything all at once. When starting your first job, especially at Cogo, take your time, enjoy the process, and get really good at the job you were hired to do before thinking about that next promotion. New projects and interdepartmental collaboration are easily accessible within a startup environment, but new opportunities should be approached thoughtfully to avoid burnout and distraction from projects that are pertinent to your role. Take the time to master your current role and focus on the work you need to do - and do it really well - and you'll find that even more great opportunities come your way.
Document your work milestones and accomplishments
The days are long, but the years are short. Your most significant accomplishments and “wins” are important, but can sometimes get forgotten over time. Keep a journal or spreadsheet with the progress you’ve made to present when you have conversations about raises or promotions. This will also to keep you motivated at work since you can clearly see your progress. At Cogo we implement “OKRs” every quarter that help us create tangible goals. OKRs are an abbreviation for “Objectives and Key Results.” An objective might be “Increase knowledge of other teams and processes within the office”. One of your key results might be “Meet with someone from every team by the end of Q2”. We make sure that all of our key results are tied to a specific date so you can plan a timeline for your objectives to be complete!
Identify and connect with an internal mentor
Having a mentor within your company can be incredibly rewarding. Once you have a better understanding of the culture and structure at your office, you should identify potential mentors that can be resources for you, professionally or personally. Your mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be on your team or even your manager, as long as it’s someone you look up to or could gain knowledge from. In our office, we embrace and celebrate diversity, so finding someone with a shared experience to help you navigate whatever uniques challenges you might face can be easy. Whether it's advancing in the tech industry as a woman or adapting to life in a new state (or even a new country!) or whatever might be meaningful to you, there's a great culture of support here at Cogo and there's always someone to talk to.
Interested in implementing the tips we mentioned? Click the link to apply to Cogo and start your career here with us!