Your Expectations

Often, new college graduates have mixed emotions about transitioning to the workplace full-time. There's excitement about embarking upon this new chapter of your life, but also apprehension about finding a job and finding satisfaction in a career.

While this page provide Employer Expectations, below are some suggestions as you transition to your new job. 

Your First Year On The Job

Employers often value a positive attitude, teachability, and a strong work ethic as much as - and sometimes more than - job-specific skills. From their perspective, new hires can be trained in the requirements of the job, but it’s difficult to “train” people to be enthusiastic, motivated, responsible, and committed to their work. The attitudes and behaviors you exhibit in the workplace can affect not only the impression you make as a new employee, but also the overall atmosphere and productivity.

Try to give yourself time to evaluate the job and how you’re doing in your work. You may find that the job is not always a good fit after adjusting to the new environment. It’s okay to make a transition out of that job, but try to seek advice from seasoned professionals, outside of your current company. Consult with them to determine if this is something that may change and can be resolved or if this is something that is not a good fit for you in the long run. Try to give yourself at least 6 months to evaluate, and take time to find a new job before quitting your current job, if possible.

Balancing Expectations vs Reality

Expectation: I will learn everything I need to know about my first post-graduation job in college.

Reality: Employers know you are a recent college graduate and therefore you don’t have professional experience to draw from, but they still expect you to demonstrate self-motivation in learning all that you can. While you’ll likely gain knowledge from a training period or program, show your excitement for your new job and your commitment to excel by researching the company/organization, the field/industry, and your job itself

Tip: If a formal training period or program is not offered, ask your supervisor if you can meet regularly for assessment of your progress. Keep a journal - make notes at the end of each day on what you learned - new processes and procedures, knowledge and skills you need to acquire, and jot down names of other employees, their job titles and what they do. You may ask a fellow employee for assistance if your supervisor is not available. If no training manual exists for your job, offer to write one as you go through the learning process.

Myth: I will only learn what's in my job description.

Reality: It's difficult to excel in a career if you operate in a vacuum. Learn as much as possible about your job, and the jobs of those with whom you work, but also – at least generally – the purpose and functions of other departments and offices. Doing so prepares you to professionally represent the company or organization when you interact with the public. And, you may learn about other, future areas of employment.

Expectation: With a college degree, I can start out in management/leadership roles.

Reality: Many companies, even for management, their new managers-in-training to learn operations and employee management skills from the ground up. To be effective in a higher level position, it is of tremendous benefit to learn and experience what the people you will supervise experience daily.

Always ask employers in interviews about where an entry-level position can lead you: Can you tell me about opportunities for development and promotion in this role?

Showing Work Ethic

The combination of attitude and performance is what creates work ethic. Think about what your new career will mean to you. Will it be “just a job”? Or will it be a large part of “who you are”? Or, will it fall somewhere in between? Identifying what your career means to you can help you make a commitment to your work for monetary reasons or excitement for helping others. Here are some ways to show work ethic in your work:


Dependable, showing their employers that they can be counted on to be professional, punctual, to follow-through, and to complete tasks and projects with attention to detail and timelines.


Put in effort beyond what is expected to get the job done, demonstrating commitment to the company/organization and not focusing on themselves and their own needs and wants.


Cooperate with fellow team members to achieve results, listen to others’ ideas, offer their own ideas with tact and respect, and contribute their unique strengths towards team success.


Possess character, demonstrating self-motivation and perseverance, independent thought, problem-solving abilities, and honesty and integrity.