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There’s nothing that can quite explain the feeling of landing your first real job. After years of school and months of job searching, you can’t quite believe you're FINALLY at this point in your life. You’re excited, proud, and terrified all at once. And so begins the next chapter in your life - the full-time working part. So, what’s the secret to excelling at your first job? Related: 3 Steps To Create Your Own Career Development Plan If you want to start your career off on the right foot, you need to develop a system that keeps you motivated and accountable. Having this will lead to raises, promotions, and - most importantly - happiness. Here at CAREEREALISM, we’ve developed something called the Core, Reach, Passion system. It’s easy to follow and has worked amazingly for us so far. Here’s a breakdown of how it works:


Consider all of the tasks in your job description as your Core responsibilities. These are the tasks, activities, and projects you were hired to do. Consider these your base responsibilities. If you do anything less than these things, you’re not doing your job. These are the first things you should focus on each day. You can’t skip these duties and just work on your Reach and Passion projects (you’ll learn more about these in a second). These babies always take priority.


Now, although you were hired for your Core responsibilities, limiting your job to those tasks isn’t going to get you a raise, and it DEFINITELY isn’t going to get you promoted. If you want to get more, you need to give more. That’s where your Reach projects come in. Your Reach projects build off of your Core responsibilities. For example, if you were hired to manage social media, a potential Reach project could be to research, propose, and implement a new social scheduling platform that saves you time and allows you to be more creative with your social campaigns. Taking on Reach projects is a great way to show your employer your increased value to the company - which justifies paying you more. Cha-ching!


Your Passion projects marry your personal interests with your skills to add value to the company (make it money). These are the projects that not only get you promotions, but also keep you happy and motivated at work. Similar to your Reach projects, your Passion projects should build off of your Core responsibilities. These projects are your chance to create exceptional value as well as pursue a personal interest. For example, when I was the Content Manager for CAREEREALISM, I spearheaded a content series called the “Happy Grad Project.” This series not only increased opt-ins for the site (value), but also showcased an area I’m passionate about (helping new grads kickstart their careers). You will likely have to discuss these projects with your manager before actively pursuing them. If they like your idea, they can help you focus your efforts to add as much value as possible.

How will this system help you excel at your first job?

By following the Core, Reach, Passion system, you will be able to monitor your own performance more effectively.
  • It keeps you accountable.
  • It shows you where you need to improve.
  • It motivates you to exceed expectations.
  • It builds fundamental understanding of how to achieve success.
The best part? Having this fundamental understanding of how to achieve success will help you in other areas of your life, too (i.e. school). What are your Reach and Passion projects, and how will they add value to YOUR company? This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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