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How to be successful in your first business development job

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For students preparing to enter a full-time job for the first time, learning how to navigate the office environment can feel intimidating. Fortunately, by concentrating on mastering a few key areas, you can quickly feel comfortable in your new role as a business development rep and a sales professional.

Getting along with co-workers

Succeeding in a job is not a do-it-yourself venture. Even if you are brilliant at your position, your boss will notice if you fail to work well with your coworkers. You do not need to be best friends with these people, but you do need to learn how to work well with them so that your team, and you personally, can succeed.

  • Avoid gossip at all costs, this includes seemingly harmless gossip
  • Be willing to give credit to others when it is due
  • Even though you are eager to get started at your job, be aware that you have to earn others trust
  • Keep any disagreements professional rather than personal

Understanding office politics

Office politics will dictate how well you fit into the fabric of an organization. Although most people do not care to acknowledge it, workplaces are generally run through office politics. Certain organizations are completely dominated by politics, where people regularly try to out-maneuver each other. Other organizations will be significantly less political, and most guidelines about employee interactions and advancements are clearly spelled out and followed.

Generally, the best way to master office politics is to watch those skilled at politics and learning how they handle various situations. Focus on what you can do to improve a particular situation while also refusing to take sides in disagreements. Remember the rules for getting along with your coworkers and actively work to avoid being sucked into office battles.


Mastering office etiquette

Office etiquette will touch upon many subjects, from what you wear to how you address your superiors. Generally, all workplaces will expect the following considerations:

  • respect your coworkers' space and do not pop over their cubicle or enter their workspace assuming they can speak without checking first
  • avoid bringing food to your desk, but when it is necessary, avoid food with particularly strong odors
  • do not have loud phone conversations or insert yourself in the conversations others are having just because you can overhear them
  • when speaking with others, give them your full attention and avoid using phones or social media

The parts of office etiquette specific to your jobs, such as titles and clothing, can be learned by observing others or asking HR.

Getting up to speed

Just because you are not in school anymore, doesn't mean the learning stops. Your ability to succeed in your business development job will be directly related to how fast and thoroughly you learn.

Key Subjects to Master:

  • Company history
  • Company executives
  • Products
  • Sales Technology
  • Competitors
  • Industry
  • Sales process

What to expect about the flow of the office

Each office will have its own system regarding when people work, how people take time off, and how vacation time is accumulated. Most offices have procedures in place regarding how days are taken off to avoid having too many people off at once. It may also be common to let senior members get their pick of time off before new hires. Since you should avoid taking time off right after starting, use your first few months to learn how the office works. Ask the person training you about these procedures as well.

Beginning a full-time business development job after finishing school can feel daunting, but a well-prepared inside sales professional can also use this time to lay the foundation for a fantastic career. Learning how to successfully navigate an office environment largely comes down to watching others and erring on the side of caution, but keep the above areas in mind as you step into your new building and you will quickly be on your way to finding your place at the organization.

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