5 career do's and don'ts for new grads, according to an expert

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5 career do's and don'ts from entrepreneur Shama Hyder
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5 career do's and don'ts for new grads, according to an expert

1. Don't expect anyone to hand you a career path

For most of adolescence it can feel like your path is pretty planned out, but Shama points out that after college the script is flipped. "A big thing to keep in mind is that you're responsible for your own curriculum," she shares. After college, you have to find your own opportunities and you can't expect anyone to hand you the next step in your life.

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2. Do find the right boss

"A lot of times students will ask me, 'Should I work for a big company or a small company?' There are perks to both, but what's more important than the size is who you will be working for," Shama shares. You should find someone you connect with and you feel you can learn from.

Shama suggests that if you don't look for an individual over the company or industry size, you could be making a mistake. "A lot of people miss that mark and don't think about who they will be surrounded by on a daily basis," she says.

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3. Don't have a sense of entitlement

"One of the best questions I got asked by a candidate was 'What can I do while I'm here so that a year from now you can say wow, that was my best hire ever?'" Shama reveals. When you're interested in a company, the best approach is to ask how you bring value to the company before you start asking what's in it for you. 

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4. Do make a good first impression

It takes more than not wearing flip-flops and pressing your shirt for your interview to make a good first impression. There are other subtle things to keep in mind, like where you place your bag or purse. As Shama points out, if it's on your lap it can look like you're going to bolt at any moment. Placing it on the seat next to you is just one simple way to make yourself look more at ease.

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5. Don't just involve yourself in the job

When you get your first job, it's important to make sure you don't just clock in and clock out without an idea of how you can contribute to the larger picture, according to Shama. "Work-life balance is important, but these are critical years where you can build a good foundation for what you want to be doing," Shama shares.

You should be thinking about how you want to create and bring new ideas to the industry as a whole rather than just your day-to-day job. You can do this by attending key conferences and getting to know important people within the industry through networking events.

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When Shama Hyder completed grad school, jobs were at an all-time low and the field she was interested in didn't exist. So she created her company, Marketing Zen Group, with just $1,500, to fill a new media void she felt existed at the time. She started out consulting, and quickly grew her company into a web marketing and digital PR firm that today employs 30 people. While based in Dallas, the firm now helps clients meet their digital marketing needs all over the country.

Shama is now a web and TV personality, bestselling author, and award-winning CEO. Her latest book, Momentum: How to Propel Your Marketing and Transform Your Brand in the Digital Age, explores "five essential principles that crack the code on marketing successfully in today's ecosystem."

EXPLORE MORE: 6 ways to calm your nerves and ace your interview

She's learned quite a few lessons along the way, and she shared a few of them with us. Whether you're a new graduate looking for work or could use a refresher to brush up on your interviewing skills, this career advice can help. Check out the slideshow above for Shama's 5 career do's and don'ts.

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