Entering the professional workforce for the first time is unlike anything else you’ll ever experience. Even if you held an internship in college, there’s something different about your first real job. Being in the office every day, and knowing you’ll be there for the long haul, is a bit different than what you’re used to. You may be wondering what’s expected of you as you enter the professional workforce. What’s considered appropriate workplace behavior? What should you do on your first day to make a good impression? What can you do to stand out and rise through the ranks? Before starting your first real job, here’s a few things to keep in mind as you head into the office.

Things will pick up fast

Once you complete all of the required paperwork and get through the onboarding phase, things will start to pick up, and fast. In addition to all of the new information you’ll be learning, you’ll be assigned tasks to complete almost immediately. This may be overwhelming at first, especially when you’re still getting used to your new co-workers and the job itself. To ensure that you complete all of your tasks on time, it’s important to come up with a plan of action. Make a to-do list, prioritize your tasks, and stick with it. This will make your first week feel less daunting and more organized.

What you wear speaks volumes about you

It can be difficult knowing what the right dress code is for a new job. A good rule of thumb is to dress one level better than what’s expected. This doesn’t mean you have to overdress, but keep in mind that for the first few months every impression you make will be a first impression. Although many companies are beginning to implement more casual dress codes, it’s always best to ask beforehand to make sure that you are up-to-date on expectations.

Adhering to a professional dress code doesn’t mean that you have to dress like everyone else. You can still incorporate your personal style into your work attire and make a good first impression. Bold accessories and fun patterns are a great way to spice up any professional outfit. With any new job, it may be a few weeks before you get your first paycheck. Don’t stress about breaking the bank on work attire. You can find the perfect staples for your office wardrobe at discounted prices from thrift stores. Secondhand stores like thredUP offer a unique selection of items including tops, skirts, shirts, dresses, and pants from a variety of brands. Their selection of discounted Lularoe clothing is perfect to add a little pop of color to your office wardrobe.

You’ll have to work more independently

If you’ve ever held an internship, you’re probably used to being supervised closely. Now that you’re in the workforce, you’ll have to do things independently. Keep in mind that you may not have someone checking in with you to make sure that you’re staying on task. It’s up to you to complete tasks by their deadlines. When given an assignment, be sure to ask a lot of questions in the beginning to ensure that you’re doing things the correct way.

Additionally, you may not receive as much feedback as you may have as an intern. Don’t expect your manager to give you a review for every task that you complete. If you find that you’re struggling with a specific task, schedule time to sit down with your boss and review your assignment. Communication is key when it comes to working independently, don’t be afraid to speak up and take charge.

Professionalism is a must

If you’re hoping to sustain a long and successful career, then mastering professionalism in the workplace is a must. Acting, communicating, and dressing professionally helps your employer, clients, and peers see you as both a hardworking and trustworthy individual. Being unprofessional at your first real job can negatively impact your reputation and cause your coworkers to view you as sloppy and unprepared. Start your career out on the right foot by always being punctual, polite, and attentive. Take initiative everyday by putting professionalism first, you won’t regret your decision.

Always maintain a positive attitude

While your first job may be overwhelming at first, eventually some of your duties may start to become tedious. Despite this, it’s important to always maintain a positive attitude in every stage of your work. Whether you’re feeling stressed out about your work or even growing bored with it, remaining positive is key. Employees who complain about their jobs aren’t nearly as successful as those who embrace them. Remember, negativity can spread like wildfire in the workplace and can disrupt the overall work environment. Even if you’re having a bad day, remain positive and remember better days are yet to come. You might just find your positivity affecting those around you, making your office a more positive place as whole.