"I just wanted to write and let you know how I much enjoy your site. It is a fantastic idea!" -Elizabeth
Read More Testimonials»

On the Career Blog

Is Your Company Depressed?

Of all the business problems companies have, I think they become more magnified when the chief executive officers lose sight that their organization is made up of people. In my experience...

Read More About Is Your Company Depressed?»

Our Starting a New Job Experts

Polly LaBerre

Polly LaBerre

CNN business correspondent and co-author of Mavericks at Work...

Shared by First30Days View Profile»
Chester Elton

Chester Elton

Co-author of The Carrot Principle and The 24-Carrot Manager

Shared by First30Days View Profile»
Cathie Black

Cathie Black

President of Hearst Magazines

Shared by First30Days View Profile»

Meet all of our Career Experts»


The latest news on this change — carefully culled from the world wide web by our change agents. They do the surfing, so you don't have to!

Your Best First Job

Your Best First Job

In all the elation of starting your new job, you may or may not recall the first job (or internship) you ever had. Whether it was babysitting, getting coffee or parking cars, the things you learned during those early days paved the way to where you are today.

Experts say that the lessons learned on a first job are the ones that are the most useful. While it may not predict where your career ultimately goes, it's definitely a stepping stone into the wild world of office culture. Even if you've been working awhile, it's helpful to recall the following tips for neophytes—perhaps they'll jog some memories from your first gig.

Stop and listen. As a new employee, you're full of great ideas on how to make the workplace better. Best to keep them to yourself for the first few weeks, and really understand the nuances of the business before you start suggesting solutions.

Study up. Getting the job is just the start. If there's an employee handbook, read it. Learn about the culture of the office, and the culture of the industry if it's new to you. Read up on the competition and stay abreast of industry news.

Ask for feedback. If you're uncertain as to how you're doing or whether you're on the right track with a project, speak up! Be proactive about seeking feedback and then let your employer see how you're changing the way you do things based on their response.

Do you have a tip for our members starting a new job? Share your career tips with us!


Posted: 9/1/08

I'll never forget taking an idea (to use excel as a template for something) to my first boss. He told me my fresh are ideas important to the company. He also cautioned me (not about excel) to think about how to "work within our system"-- lots of money invested in resources that should be used too. Truly the lessons I learned with my first real job served as a foundation for how I work with others and the infrastructures I join.

  • on 9/23/08 10:08 AM EST

Yes, my first job provided me with invaluable experience. I juggled many different roles, learned many new tasks and was encouraged to give my opinions. I learned a lot about what I expected for my future roles and professional life. My advice for those starting out is to remember that you’re just starting out, so put the extra effort in from the beginning. It will help you stand out as an employee. If you need more challenge, find a way to create one. Use your down time to study your product, company, service and find projects you could create for yourself to improve it. (Although as the text suggests, don’t do this too early on, wait at least a few months.) This will really make you stand out as an employee and help your company. Everybody wins!


It wasn't an official job, but my first was working for my grandfather at his flea market stand in Pgh. Nowadays I still love flea markets, treasures, hunting for someone, but more importantly, it's about the people you meet at them, the stories heard that I love. It's not like the impersonal process of Ebay. Not sure what it taught me other than BARGAIN!