Entering a new job is daunting to say the least- even more so if it’s your first job after college. That was the position I found myself in one year ago when I started working at Barton. In April 2021 I joined the marketing team as an intern and was offered a full-time position just three weeks later. Even if my time as an intern was brief, I’m glad I had it. My first three weeks at Barton were a steep learning curve, and getting through it gave me a newfound sense of confidence.
One year later I’ve gotten into a comfortable rhythm, but still vividly remember how I started out. If you’re a recent college graduate entering your first professional job, here’s what you should be prepared for:
A Ton of Technical Terms
When I started, I understood about every other word that came out of my coworkers’ mouths. Terms like landing page, hero image, and parent-child were foreign to me. Names turned out to be the biggest hurdle. My coworkers, who had all been with the company for several years, would refer to employees in other departments or offices with zero context, and I was left to fill in the blanks.
The onslaught of new information was daunting at times, but I took it as a learning opportunity. I asked questions when it was appropriate and did a Google or LinkedIn search when it wasn’t. I was thankful (and still am) that my coworkers were kind and helpful whenever I expressed confusion. Since then I’ve learned 99% of the terminology that comes up day-to-day, and I’ve had the opportunity to pay it forward with new employees.
New Software and Programs
Going into marketing, I thought my education in Adobe Creative Suite put me at an advantage. However, I quickly realized I was more like a one-trick pony. Salesforce? Craft CMS? SEMRush? What were those?
Once again, my coworkers were instrumental in helping me learn and understand these new programs. When I learned something new I would write the process down step-by-step on a Google Doc or a sticky note. Having notes to refer to prevented me from annoying my coworkers with the same question over and over. It also became another tool I could pass on to new employees who struggled with the same questions I had.
Learning Workplace Etiquette
‘Don’t microwave fish’ is a good tip, but it’s really the bare minimum. Barton was my first experience in an office environment, and I sometimes struggled to navigate the unspoken social norms. Diplomacy takes on a new meaning when you’re in marketing. Nearly every project our team takes on, from website updates to printed collateral, is a group effort. Our copywriter provides text, our graphic designer makes it attractive, our web leader gets it on the website, and I post it to social media. I learned it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and how to phrase things in order to get an ideal outcome. Critique is a necessary part of group work, and learning to say it gracefully will get you far.