College: My senior year of college was a blissful year. I had locked down a full time job by December and
by spring quarter I was out at happy hours and going out with my friends every
weekend (and Wednesdays…and Thursdays). My blissful times ended as I graduated,
relocated to Southern California, and started my career with a PepsiCo. 

Real World: My first year working full time was a rough transition from college to the real world. I ended up leaving
PepsiCo to work for the Boeing Company and my second year working full time was
a little bit better, but I definitely still
had my challenges.
Now I’m on my third year out of school and I think I’m
starting to get a handle on things (well at least I think so). 

The lessons I learned my first year and second year working
full time could be two different 5 Part Series, but today I’ll be sharing 3 different things Corporate America
expected me and my peers
to know out of college. Whether you may have
learned these 3 things in college, or you may have not, I found these three
things essential to a smooth transition into all of my roles so far in
Corporate America.

Who is this post for? 
This is for any new
out there who might be getting ready to enter to the “real world”.

This is also for
anyone out there new to Corporate America
– if you feel like you’re
drowning at any point, you aren’t alone. 

These three things I’m sharing today will hopefully bring
you some awareness and help to these items.

How to
Manage Emails:
I had interned for the Boeing Company in college but out of
college I went to work for PepsiCo. I learned that different companies have
very different expectations when it comes to email etiquette. Here are 3 things to be aware of when it
comes to email etiquette:

to Responses:
From my experiences at Boeing, it seems like its okay to
respond to an email by either the end of
the day or within 24 hours
. Of course if there is a super urgent issue
happening, the expectation is respond as soon as you know the answer or
completed the work.

But at my first job at PepsiCo, I was pulled aside by an assigned mentor
who wanted to talk about my
communication problems.
She brought to my attention that the email
expectations is to respond as quickly as you can when you receive an email. She
informed me that I always should act
with a sense of urgency
and I should constantly be checking my emails and phone.
I used to drive around from store to store selling Gatorade and Quaker Oats and
didn’t realize that I should be putting that heightened attention to emails.

I always am more formal in emails than I need to (I always err on the side of caution).
attention to the language
used in your emails. Using shorten works like
“u” for “you” isn’t professional and shouldn’t be used when writing a business

Length of
During my first finance job at Boeing, I had to reach out to the
engineering director to approve a list of projects. The first email I sent him
was too lengthy… He ended up reaching out to my lead to help coach me write an email to directors. This is the main thing I
learned from the experience:

Bullet Points to keep your emails short:
Why? Managers, Directors & Executives read their emails on their phone
most of the time. It’s difficult to scroll through paragraphs and paragraphs…
and much easier to read bullet points.

2.       How to Give Presentations

During my second finance rotation at
Boeing, my co-worker and I had to present our projects that we had been working
on to our manager. Coming from business school, I’ve had plenty of practice
giving presentations. However my co-worker studied economics and hadn’t had
much experience giving presentations.

co-worker struggled to talk through the heavy amounts of data in his power
point. He floundered to communicate what the importance details were and failed
to explain how to read the slide. My manager at the time grew frustrated with
him. I felt really bad as my co-worker struggled that I stopped the meeting to
give him some peer to peer coaching.

I could write an entire blog posts series
on how to give an effective power point presentation but for now here are some
tips to help you give presentations:

At the
beginning and end of each slide, explicitly say the purpose/punchline of the
You have to tell your audience where
you are going,
then tell them the details, and finally remind them of what they learned. This is one the things I coached my co-worker on.

Example: “The purpose of chart you are viewing is to show how much
time/money was spent this month…. Now that we’ve learned how much time/money
was spend this month, we’ll move onto…”

speak louder than words
– Instead of listing out rows and rows of numbers,
consider moving your numbers into tables or charts. Or instead of using rows
and rows of words, consider using pictures to send your message. Remember your power point presentation is your visual aid and you are the one presenting the presentation.

in front of a friend or mentor
– Before you present out to management or
any directors, I highly recommend running through the presentation with a
friend or mentor. Be open to getting coaching before your actual presentation.
You’ll learn whether you need to speak up, slow down, or explain something more
in depth.

3.       How to Dress for Work:

I know there are plenty of work
environments out there that are casual, but at the two companies I’ve worked
for business casual to business formal are more of the norm.

Business Casual is slacks, skirts, heels (open toe or closed),
flats, and usually a cardigan, vest or blazer for a third piece. Jeans are not
business casual – but are appropriate for casual Friday. Skirts and dresses
that are above fingertip length are not appropriate.

elevate a look for business formal,
wear suit pants/skirts with a matching

Examples and Tips to Dress Business Casual:

4 Trends to Take Into Your Office Wardrobe

3 Tips to Feel Comfortable in Office-wear

Corporate Chic – A Business Lesson Into Blogging & The Importance of the Third Piece 

Business Casual is slacks, khakis, dress shoes or loafers, fitted
sweaters and collared shirts can be short sleeve (polos) or long sleeve.

elevate a look for business formal
– add a tie and a jacket/blazer.

Now that we’ve discussed email etiquette,
reviewed a few tips on how to give presentations, and how to dress for work, I
hope you feel either a little more prepared to enter the working world or
Corporate America. I also recommend asking your manager or a co-worker about these expectations
to these three things to help your transition into your new role.

Thank you for reading!

Photos: Holly Phan