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Your First 90 days on the job

Here are the top 5 things you should do in the first few months at a new job to launch your career.


  1. Learn your role and organization. Familiarize yourself with the company resources and office culture and learn not only how your department functions but how other departments work together. Set up get-to-know you meetings with key players.
  2. Excel at your job. Bring a fresh perspective and new ideas, but also recognize where things are already working and don’t need to be changed. Focus on finding solutions to known problems and delivering results. Find a mentor!
  3. Assess your goals. Develop specific, measurable and realistic goals and a plan on how to achieve them. Discuss with your manager.
  4. Develop your network. Pay attention to your colleagues, socialize but remain professional. Join professional associations and follow industry experts on Twitter.
  5. Exceed expectations. Be proactive and take on new and challenging projects. Practice good time management and finish your tasks ahead of the scheduled date.


Check out these awesome resources that will help you through your 90 day transition:

  • @ work: Candace Moody with WorkSource dishes out the dirt on both successfully scoring a gratifying job and making sure it doesn’t go anywhere anytime soon.
  • Career CoPilot: This general career blog irons out all the possible kinks employees young and old might encounter in their offices and job trajectories.
  • Office-Politics: Before launching a career, get a head start on how to handle common (and a few less-than-common) problems that crop up when sharing a space with other professionals.
  • Life After College: Give this extremely valuable resource a look at how to handle the transition between graduation and career — among other hallmarks of adulthood, of course.
  • Alexandra Levit’s Water Cooler Wisdom: Let Alexandra Levit’s experiences serve as a rough-and-tumble guide to the ups, downs, ins, and outs of corporate culture before heading off on that job search.

How to Succeed in Business without a Business degree

Did you know that there is a way to work in business without obtaining a degree in Business Administration? Many people have started their careers with a degree in another field, me included. In my own life, after obtaining a liberal arts degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I spent my entire career in business, and was fortunate to experience success. In fact, people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Sam Walton, and Anita Roddick don’t have business degrees, and have succeeded in becoming CEOs of large companies. There are a whole host of unnamed entrepreneurs and small business owners around the world who have figured out how to work in business without obtaining a correlated degree.

Here are my top four ways to break into business.

  1. It starts with a vison for your life. If you have a vision, you can constantly POSITION yourself for your long-range goals by taking jobs that lead you there. When you know yourself and make a plan, you act more decisively, have less stress, and cope better with the progress of your career and the changes around you. The best way to start creating life vision is by imagining a picture of your ideal day. You wake up in the morning – where are you going to work? Do you leave to go into an office filled with people or are you in a tiny think tank with a small team? Is the environment intense and invigoration, relaxed and laid back, or creative and a bit crazy? Get your creative juices flowing by asking yourself these four questions:

Question 1: When am I in the zone?

Question 2: What work feels “easy”?

Question 3: What are my interests?

Question 4: What tasks do I gravitate towards in my current job(s)?

  1. Research potential careers in your chosen field(s). Now that you have designed your ideal lifestyle, it’s time to come up with a list of careers that have the potential to deliver it. You can do that by researching business careers and the corresponding industries. At the University Career Services websites we have several resources for you to use to help with your research. Please see my list of favorites below.



Strong Interest Inventory

What Can I Do With This Major?

  1. Assess your current skills and create a plan on how to build your skill gaps. Now that you have researched your chosen careers, take a look at the skills that it takes to succeed in the field. One of the easiest ways to assess your skills is to study a comprehensive list of skills and check the ones you have. Compare these to job descriptions for your field to see if you have what you need. Most job descriptions will list both required and preferred skills that employers are looking for in their candidates. After doing your own skills inventory you will have a clearer picture of your professional strengths, and you will know what skills you need to work on. It’s then time to take action!
  2. Gain relevant experience through experiential learning. As a University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill student, you have a number of opportunities available to you that will help you develop and enhance skills that you can transfer from one place to another over your lifetime.

Student Employment. Part-time employment offers the opportunity to gain new skills at the same time you are earning money! Through part-time employment you could obtain clerical, interpersonal, supervision, and customer-service skills. Holding a part-time job while in school can also help build time-management and organizational skills as you learn to balance multiple tasks and activities.

Leadership and Service Learning. Volunteering is another excellent way to obtain skills. Employers often seek candidates who show interest and have experience in serving their communities.

Organizations and Activities. Getting involved on campus is an important part of college life, and student organizations offer many opportunities for skill building. Holding an office in and providing leadership to an organization is a great way to develop important leadership and management skills. Some organizations may also directly relate to your chosen career and allow you the chance to gain professional experience.

Internships. Internship programs offer you the chance to integrate classroom theory with career-related work experience. Employers prefer candidate who have developed job-related skills and knowledge; internships are one of the best ways to gain that experience. In addition, internships expand your network of professionals in your field of interest, they enable you to explore and clarify your career goals, and they give you the opportunity to discover what skill areas you still need to acquire or refine.


Camille Mason

University Career Services

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