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Common mistakes millennials make at their first job

Starting your first job can be terrifying (to put it lightly). The pressure to perform can be hard to shake, and can impair your overall mood. Keep in mind that everyone messes up at their first job. But you can avoid making simple mistakes if you come to your first job well prepared.  To avoid falling into bad habits, here are 7 common first job mistakes millennials can prevent.


1. Too much time behind a screen

Millennials love to keep friends on social media updated whenever anything exciting happens at work. Though an occasional text to a friend isn’t a bad thing, being too screen-obsessed can be a damaging first job mistake.  Constantly reaching for your phone makes you look uninterested in the office and your work. Stay off social media when you can – your boss will appreciate it.


2. Question-phobia

Millennials tend to be afraid of asking questions out of fear of looking stupid. Unless it’s an obvious question, or something you can easily look up yourself, it is okay to ask questions. Training can only go so far – it’s necessary to follow up with inquiries to know your job well. Make sure you’re asking questions at the right moment and to the right people. A good first-day question might even be “Who is the best person to ask about X?”.


first job mistakes


3. Glossing over orientation

Your orientation may seem dull and unimportant,  but dazing off in this period is a common first job mistake. Going over tax forms, vacation policy, payment details, etc. are all very important aspects of your job. Take notes during your orientation, and if you need to make any financial decisions, take time to research your options. Make sure to have the contact information of an HR representative, in case you have follow-up questions.


4. Adding your coworkers on Facebook

Try to “friend” your new coworkers on professional social networks, like LinkedIn, instead of Facebook. You may not want all your coworkers to access the personal information you share on Facebook. Wait until you get to know your colleagues before you let them in.


5. Forgetting names

The faster you memorize the names of your colleagues, the better. It’s a basic form of respect to your coworkers. Plus, it’s an important way to orient yourself in the office and improve communication. Saying the wrong name can lead a really bad impression. Simply avoid making this first job mistake by taking the time to get to know each of your colleagues.


first job mistakes


6. Getting into office politics

Although it’s important to understand office dynamics, try your best to stay out of office politics. It can be tempting to follow the lead of veteran colleagues, but try not to partake in pessimistic thinking.


7. Trying to do too much

In efforts to impress their coworkers, newbies tend to say “yes” to everything. Though done with the best of intentions, over extending yourself can torpedo your work performance. If you try to do too much, work quality can suffer.


Now that you know how to avoid these 7 first job mistakes, apply now to boost your career with an internship abroad.






1. based on Millennials Jam Workshop: Youth and ICTs beyond 2015, by ITU Pictures, CC-by-2.0

2. based on FIX Flyer Office, by Schezar, CC-by-2.0

3. based on Michael and Armando, by Moresheth, CC-by-2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!