Great Things to Learn on Your Own Before Going to Work

After doing two internships and now working as a full time professional, there are a few things that has really helped me succeed and impress my supervisors and managers. The most important is your attitude but there are little things that can make you useful to your boss and your fellow coworkers.

Learn how to type accurately fast with the keyboard and 10-key. I learned how to use the 10-key pad in high school because I figured it would be helpful someday and spent a good two weeks perfecting my speed and accuracy on various websites. The skill has helped me tremendously because in my internships I had to do a lot of data entry whether it’s reports, change orders, RFIs, excel spread sheet with information, and just various paperwork. With the ability to enter data quickly, I was able to push through the paperwork faster than others and this was noticed because when you are a new hire people will use every interaction with you to create your foundation; you definitely want it to be a strong foundation! The ability to type accurately fast will pay for itself in leaps and bounds because no matter what job you have, you will be answering emails and writing various letters or whatever. I’ve spent a lot of time practicing typing accurately, fast, and also spelling correctly; this has made my life tremendously more efficient and I can complete more work at a faster rate. Spend the time to practice these skills because they are invaluable!

Become a master at Microsoft Excel. Without a doubt, Excel is the most powerful tool you can have in your arsenal when it comes to data entry, reporting, and anything that has to do with numbers. You need to learn all the tips & tricks of Excel to truly understand its usefulness. It might take a few months/years to learn the more difficult stuff like macros and writing scripts but when you need to simplify your data and make it presentable, it will truly come in handy. One way I’ve helped my boss and coworkers is by showing them Excel tricks they never knew about and believe me, there are a million short cuts to doing things in Excel that people just don’t know about. Once again, it all comes down to building a foundation for yourself as a new hire. Everybody uses Excel so if you are that person that people go to when they need help with it, then you will be highly regarded and valuable to your fellow coworkers and bosses.

Synergize yourself with Outlook Mail. I used Outlook on my internship with Clark County and it’s the mail service we use here at Turner Construction. For personal email I use Gmail but when it comes to the professional world, you will find that Outlook is king. It’s extremely helpful if you’re familiar with Outlook before you get on the job because everything is communicated through it and it has a lot more functions than your regular email service. It might take some tinkering because your inbox can get bombarded if you don’t know how to organize your emails correctly. Learn all the ins and outs of the Outlook Calendar from setting dates, recurring dates, setting up meetings, sharing your calendar, syncing your calendar, and anything that would help people be informed about what’s going on. I’ve come to rely heavily on my Outlook to plan out my day and I can tell you that everybody has done the same. With the frantic stuff that goes on in the day, Outlook helps you to focus everything together and let you know what you have going on from hour to hour. Learning how to tactfully respond to emails quickly will definitely give you an upper hand among your peers and get recognition from your managers.

These are just a few little things that you can do to make your transition to the professional world a strong one. Remember that you can only make a first impression once. Within the first few months, your supervisors will look at how you perform the small tasks to gauge your ability and if you can swim instead of treading water then you will see yourself getting more responsibility! Practice, Practice, PRACTICE!

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