Make your first job count

Make your first job count

Weekly Planner

If you are very lucky, your first job is the one you’ve always dreamed of – that first magical rung on the ladder to the career you’ve always wanted. However, it may not be quite what you imagined, involving a little too much coffee making and other largely mindless tasks.

As the famous quote says, “The only job you start at the top is” digging a hole.” Don’t expect too much too soon! No matter how qualified you are, you start at the bottom and will have much to learn before you can expect to be promoted or start earning the big bucks. It’s a time when kindness, respect and a healthy dose of humility will get you further than arrogance. Remember, you’re laying the foundations for your future, and creating a good impression is the best place to start.

Don’t be invisible. Take charge of your career and make sure that people know who you are and see what you’re good at. Never be afraid to ask questions or to make mistakes. Often the only way to learn something is by doing it, even if you get it wrong. Share your opinions, contribute during meetings and offer to assist on projects that may be outside the scope of your job description. By doing this, you present yourself as someone who is interested and interesting.

Your first few months at a new job can be overwhelming – you’ll be meeting clients and co-workers, and learning new skills. You won’t feel this way forever, but you do need to ensure that you’re building the foundations to grow into the person you want to be.

There’s no substitute for learning. Make an effort to understand every aspect of the job you’re doing. Expand your knowledge by taking e-courses and subscribing to industry trade publications. Join networking groups where you’ll be exposed to mentors and industry influencers, and become a member of the governing bodies of your industry.

Make it count:

  • Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed – everyone was new at his or her job once
  • Find a mentor
  • Build relationships, networks and contacts
  • Remember: you’re in it to get experience
  • Do something every day to make yourself stand out
  • Use your time wisely – learn, learn, learn
  • Be proactive
  • Take criticism constructively and learn from it
  • Remember that people will be patient and want to help you
  • Show interest in the areas where you need to improve and make an effort to address those gaps

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