By Ethan Penland, Director of Admissions Services
3 minute read
I remember my first day on the job as an Admissions Officer at the University of North Georgia, and I truly did not really know what to expect other than I had a personal expectation of wanting to do a good job and make an impact.
Many new counselors carry much of the same emotions, mindset, and experiences that I had. Having now supported many new staff members who have started their journey in higher education, I wanted to give my readers, especially those who are new or those who have new team members on staff, a few tips on how to get started on the right foot towards building a strong and successful career in admissions and enrollment management
- Ask “why,” a lot. Whenever you are new to a role, there’s plenty of information to learn. However, rarely is context provided as to why you should be learning certain information or why you’re being trained on certain topics. For you to feel confident in your role, be willing to ask “why” when you’re tasked with or trained on something. It isn’t meant to be defiant but rather you are trying to comprehend the full picture of what you are learning and why it’s important to your role.
- Embrace saying “I don’t know/understand.” A huge mistake that new professionals make is putting on the facade that they have everything down pat when, in reality, they are still feeling lost. No one expects you to have it all figured out or be perfect, especially within the first few weeks or months of your job. Accept that and allow yourself to be vulnerable. It will only allow you to grow stronger in your role.
- Be solutions-driven. Everyone is quick to point out problems but very few offer solutions. When you notice a “problem,” try considering a solution before you share the concern with your team or leadership. This helps in two ways: 1. Finding solutions to “problems” can take time and be challenging, so if you come up with a solution, you can expedite the necessary change and 2. Doing this will help you in your career development and opportunities in the future because problem-solving is a major component of leadership.
- Get interested in data. I understand how math doesn’t get everyone excited, but it gets you further ahead in your career. Everything you will do in your role can and should be supported by data, so invest in taking the time to learn and understand it. You’ll feel so much more confident in your decisions and ideas.
- Network your heart out. Yes, get connected and network with your campus partners, but if you’re in a position where you’re around folks from other institutions, put yourself out there and get connected. When you put yourself out there, you’ll quickly develop a great group of individuals who will help you in your role and your career. Trust me, they are not your competition; they are your best resources.
- Lend a helping hand. One mistake I see from new staff members is they overlook the opportunity to help out where help is needed. No matter how big or small a task is or will be, ask how you can support it. You will not only get exposed to more of how “things work” in your office, but you’ll discover areas of the job that excite you more and can lead to opportunities in the future.
You only start a new job once, so why not start off on the right foot? If you take these tips and apply them to your development in your new role, not only will you shine brighter, but your confidence in what you do and why you do it will be even greater.
If you are new to the profession or leading a team of new individuals, I would love to hear from you about your successes so far and where you feel like you may need additional support. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get the conversation started!