This career advice will help you make the most of your first entry-level athletic training job in the ‘real world.’
Congrats! The four years you spent in school (or more for our new post-professional crew) have culminated in your brand-new diploma. Even better, you got your first job offer signed, sealed, and delivered. And it’s one you’re actually excited about!
Count yourself among the lucky ones. While the economy and the job market have improved over the past few years, many recent college grads still struggle to find full-time jobs in their fields.
Don’t go into the ‘real world’ blind. There’s plenty of info here to get you started on your professional journey.
Get ready for your first day.
Remember how important it was to make the right first impression during each job interview? It’s equally important to make a great first impression with your new colleagues.
Create a plan for your first 90 days on the job.
Many employers view a new hire’s first 90 days at the company as an extension of the interview process. Your manager is probably still feeling you out, and you are also likely doing the same, making sure this hiring decision was the right one for everyone.
Orientation programs are offered by some companies to prepare new employees for success, however, you shouldn’t assume that you will receive such assistance. Create your own 90-day plan instead. Make a list of things you can do during your first week, month, and 90 days on the job that will prepare you for success.
Reset your expectations for your entry-level athletic training job.
It’s great that you’re ready to join the workforce and start your dream job. But be realistic about your expectations.
Continue to learn — in and out of your work
The fastest way to lose your edge is to stop learning. Sure, after your last semester of finals, presentations, term papers, and group projects, you might be ready to burn your library card. Experiencing burnout is completely normal. Find ways to keep getting better after you’ve given yourself a break and settled into your new job role and routine in and out of the office. While you’ll still have continuing education (CEUs) to complete, don’t let yourself get stuck in a CEU rut. Take courses that are interesting to you or applicable to your daily work.
Invest in your professional network.
What is the point of networking if you already have a job? Good professional networks aren’t just useful for finding and landing an entry-level athletic training job. Often, the most successful professionals have strong networks. You will be able to build and sharpen your skills, keep up with industry trends and technologies, find the right mentor, and keep an eye on the job market if you suddenly find yourself unemployed or desperate to change jobs.
Get involved in your alma mater’s alumni events, join relevant LinkedIn groups online, and discover other face-to-face opportunities through relevant professional associations like NATA, Meetup groups, and conventions.
Start a brag book of your work accomplishments.
You have to be comfortable describing your job skills and the value you bring to an employer if you want to advance in your career. Track your achievements from the beginning of your career in a brag book to prepare for these future conversations.
The brag book – also called a “wins journal” – is an uncomplicated job-search tool that lets you keep track of all your major contributions and accomplishments over the course of your career. Having an ongoing record of your professional accomplishments will not only help you prepare for your annual review and salary negotiation conversations in the future, but it will also be easier to update your entry-level athletic training resume when you’re ready to conduct another job search.
Take this career advice to start your first entry-level athletic training position with enthusiasm and confidence. And enjoy your graduation party!