Getting Your First Job & Owning It

By: Shannon Smith

For those of you who know where you’ll be working in the next few months, congratulations! Now
it’s time to have fun and wrap up your college career. Soon it’ll be moving time and getting ready for
the first day on the job. When you start in that first role, really take it on! Develop goals beyond what
your performance sheet requires and you will be noticed! Watch, study, and become your boss. Always
be humble and stay on your toes because once that higher position opens up, you will be the most
qualified for it.

Internal networking is huge, especially where I am in the consulting world. Take full advantage of
being new and meet as many people as you can. Be excited and always be smiling. Companies love
the fresh energy that new employees have! Push yourself. Take on an extra assignment in another
department or ask questions to learn other pieces of the business. Join or better yet, start an intramural
league within your company. It’s a way to get your name out there, not to mention fun!! Also be sure
to network at community service opportunities, happy hours and other out of office occasions like
spring picnics or sporting events!

After graduating in December and moving to Washington DC, I started my job at Grant Thornton.
Although it’s known for being a large accounting firm focusing on tax and audit, it offers advisory
services to government agencies. I am a consultant within the Organizational Improvement practice
area in the Global Public Sector. Before starting my project, I had downtime waiting for a clearance
and got the opportunity to help with proposals and subcontract closeouts. It was a great way to get my
name out there and valuable to see other sides of the business. I also took on a special project to make
a recruitment flyer and presentation tailored to Industrial Engineers! To meet more people, I have
joined the company flag football team starting in April.

If you are still deciding on a career, really think about what matters to YOU! Don’t stress over
a “great opportunity” that truly isn’t in line with your other aspects of life! For me, I knew I would
like government consulting. I work with brilliant people every day, am in a fun, young city and get to
make a difference for our nation. Company culture is also important to me. I looked for a place where
work life balance is valued, access to upper level management is possible and careers are able to grow
through experience, training and opportunity. I found it, and you can too.

Editor’s Note: Shannon Smith works as an organizational improvement consultant for Grant Thornton LLP in Alexandria, Virginia. Her current engagement is with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under the Department of Homeland Security. She is doing a fleet management assessment to recognize areas for fleet reduction and fuel cost reduction. Shannon graduated in December of 2011 from the Ohio State University with a Bachelors in Industrial Engineering. She enjoys traveling (especially for IIE conferences), skiing and playing flag football.

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