Client Outreach: A Business Primer for College Grads

If you have clients who just celebrated a child’s college graduation, now is a great time to bond with the new graduate—who is your NextGen client. After taking this approach to reaching out with some financial guidance, it’s time to take the next step by offering some sage advice about how to survive—and thrive—in the workplace.

Whether you send the information in an email (direct to the new grad!) or schedule a face-to-face meeting, offer these business tips and leave the door open for questions, today and in the future. Supporting their early success in the workplace is a great way to position yourself as a trusted advisor from the very start—and set the stage for your newest client’s sound financial future.

The move from the classroom to the boardroom is quite a shift! Unless you’ve spent your summers interning, this may be the first time you’ve entered the business community. Just like any new adventure, it’s smart to learn the lay of the land before you begin—both to avoid any missteps and to be sure you’re putting you best foot forward from day one. Here are three tips that I wish I’d known starting out. I hope they serve you well!

Network. And network some more.

By now you probably have your LinkedIn profile up and running, but whether you’ve already found a new job or not, it’s a good idea to have someone in your chosen field to review it and offer recommendations for improvements. Every industry is different, and whether it means knowing how to list your experience or which groups to join, someone who understands any industry-specific nuances can help tremendously. Of course, don’t limit networking to online activities. Check out Andrea Nierenberg’s latest book, Savvy Networking: 118 Fast & Effective Tips for Business Success, for daily tips for effective networking in all types of businesses—from manufacturing to financial services, from technology companies to retailers. And take her advice: make networking a vital part of your personal business plan.

Present your best self—every day.

Image isn’t everything, but in business, it communicates a lot to your colleagues and, if you’re in a client-facing position, your customers. Jeans and a t-shirt may have

been your wardrobe for the past four years, but now is the time to invest in a functional, professional wardrobe that aligns with your new office culture. Feeling wardrobe challenged? A personal shopper can help you put together a great set of pieces that work together at fraction of the price of doing it yourself. Looking professional is often perceived as being professional, so err on the side of overdressing—at least until you’ve impressed the office with your skills!

Own your mistakes.

Ask any successful professional how they learned this lesson, and they will surely have a story to tell! It’s rarely easy to admit when you’ve done something wrong. It’s even more difficult in a work environment where your focus is to do everything as right as possible. But mistakes happen, and when you do mess up, the best thing you can do (really!) is to go straight to the person who is affected and tell the truth. Someone told me years ago that “bosses never like surprises.” Never let your boss—or anyone—learn about your mistakes from someone else. Instead, earn a reputation for being open about your failures and you’ll find your successes are much more respected as well.

I could go on and on about my own experiences, and I’ve learned many lessons (personal and financial) from some fantastic teachers, colleagues, family, and mentors. I’m happy to share more if you’re interested. In the mean time, I urge you to go ask as many people as you can to share their own experiences. Just like in college, asking for help is never a bad thing. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who wouldn’t be happy to offer advice. Once you’ve heard what they have to say, note what feels right to you and let the rest go. You’ll walk away with new knowledge that may help smooth your own path into the business world—and the confidence you need to succeed.

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The information and opinions herein are for general information use only. The opinions reflect those of the writers but not necessarily those of New York Life Investment Management LLC (NYLIM). NYLIM does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, nor does New York Life Investment Management LLC assume any liability for any loss that may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions. Such information and opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security or as personalized investment advice.