So, you have joined the ranks of new graduates this year? Bravo! Congratulations, and good luck to you! In the spirit of helping, the St. Conti Communications team has put together some of its favorite tips for new graduates for success in business and life based on our experiences. With each tip, we have included links to related articles or books for more information.

Communication is the Most Important Skill Anyone Can Have

To quote this article by USC Anneberg, billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson says that “Communication is the most important skill any leader [or anyone for that matter] can possess.” Build trust with people through honesty, clarity, integrity, results, and consistency. Adapting to your audience and their needs is also a must to communicate effectively.

Network, Network, Network

An especially important skill for new graduates is the ability to network. Meeting strangers can be difficult at first. But with practice, it gets easier, especially as people see the confidence and polish in your approach and demeanor.

Here are some basics:

  • Be a Person: In the words of Scott Ginsberg, Head of Content at Metric Digital, “Look people in the eyes, show your humanity, and let people know that you are looking to connect in an authentic way.”
  • Follow online leaders in your field and engage with them when you can add to the conversation. LinkedIn is an excellent forum for doing just that. You will also want to take the time to flesh out your profile so others can see who you are and what you do.
  • Join in-person local associations – Chambers of Commerce, industry associations, etc. – and go to events. Before you go, print up some business cards with all your pertinent contact information, including social media handles, to share with new contacts. For more specific tips, this article from The Etiquette School of New York covers the most important aspects of networking.
  • Volunteer with organizations that match your interests and where you can showcase your abilities. Volunteering helps the person or group with which you are volunteering, and it can help you land a job or make valuable long-term contacts. Here’s a helpful article from ALIS – The Government of Alberta: “11 Ways Volunteering Can Help You Find a Job.”

Manners Matter

Always say please and thank you. Writer, editor and motivational speaker, Joe Kita, is quoted as saying, “When you want to get your way, simply try being mannerly. It’s become so rare nowadays that it disarms people. It throws them off balance….” Maintaining your manners is a form of offering mutual respect and is foundational to success in business interactions. For more on this, check out the book: The Power of Respect: Benefit from the Most Forgotten Element of Success, by Deborah Norville.

Strive to Achieve Balance

As you’ve worked hard to achieve your education, expect to work hard to succeed in your career field. But, as you work hard to succeed, be sure to leave time for family, friends, and fun. While it may be impossible at times to achieve absolute balance, you should mindfully strive to achieve it through reminding yourself of what is important. This article from The Hartford Business Owner’s Playbook explains further: 7 Work-Life Balance Tips.

Character Counts

Sometimes we’re so concerned with our outward behavior that we forget about our inward attitude. Former University of California, Los Angeles, basketball player and head coach, John Wooden, said it best, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”  In other words, new graduates should focus on developing their reputations while staying true to their values and being fair with others. Beyond this, they should be reliable and confident, yet easy to work with. Read this Indeed article for more on this topic and to understand what employers need: 10 Qualities of a Good Employee (With Examples).


The transition from graduate to employee can be dramatic, especially if you haven’t worked in your field before. Just as with school, this is a time to make every effort to learn your new role while allowing yourself time to adapt. Here’s to your success!

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