When you leave education, you kiss goodbye to classrooms, teachers, and…learning? Or, maybe not. In truth, the teachers might not be there anymore, but life is one big classroom. You may think you learned it all from your fantastic lecturers but think again.
You can never know a job until you’re doing it. Those who did placements during their degrees will be in much better standing. But, for those who only studied in the classroom, the technicalities can only take you so far. That degree won’t prepare you for the ins and outs of a typical workday. It may seem overwhelming, but it’s best to embrace this reality. After all, learning is a good thing. And, your willingness to embrace the lessons your new job has to teach will make you good at what you do.
Whether you’ve started a new job, or are in the process of applying, the following lessons are waiting for you in the not so distant future.
How to sell yourself
If this is your first job, the chances are that you’ve never really been in a position where you’ve had to sell yourself. But, that’s about to change. If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, you’ll soon learn that selling yourself, and your skills, is the name of the game. And, in a competitive market, you have to work hard at it.
The chances are that you won’t ace your first interview. While some people get lucky, you probably won’t be a pro straight away. That’s okay, as long as you learn from your mistakes. Think of those interviews as an exam. Consider which questions you got wrong. It may even help to put yourself in the position of the employer. How would you have considered yourself if you were in their shoes? If you wore the wrong outfit or looked incredibly nervous, you may not have seemed like the best option.
As well as altering mistakes for next time, it’s worth practicing a few mock interviews. Ask a friend to help you, and alternate playing roles of the interviewee, and interviewer. This method, along with your alternations, should go a long way towards securing the job.
A little people perspective
Different jobs involve different levels of communication. In an office, you may not be working with members of the public, but you will speak to staff members, and probably clients. As such, you’ll need to develop your people skills. Simple things, like your phone manner, will make a huge difference to your progress. If you’ve never answered phones in a business setting before, listen in on a few office calls before giving it a go.
There’s also a learning curb when it comes to your colleagues, and this applies no matter your profession. Every workplace has its rhythms, and as the new kid, you have yet to fit into those. Keep your eyes and ears peeled to help you get an idea of how things operate. It may be that people keep to themselves. If so, going all out to arrange nights out together wouldn’t go down well. Or, perhaps it’s a social workplace. In that case, sticking to your cubicle wouldn’t make the best impression. Tread carefully for the first few days, and let other people set the pace. When you’re certain what the deal is, make efforts to fit in.
If your chosen career is in sales of any kind, you’ll be dealing with members of the public on a daily basis. This is even more of a challenge, as it’s not something you will have any real experience in yet. To get off on the right footing, you could opt for a customer service training course. Aside from that, nothing can teach you but trial and error. Try, always, to stay polite. And, if you’re unsure of the answer to a question, always seek a second opinion.
If you’re in the care field, your people skills are even more important. In fact, they are the be all and end all of your job. As such, it’s crucial you take as much time over them as possible. If you’re working with troubled individuals, you may want to do a social work online masters degree on the side to ensure you offer the best service. If you’re in the medical profession, it’s also worth doing any training courses your workplace offers. And, most importantly, listen to the people you’re dealing with. Often, all it takes to get this right is a little human touch. Don’t let your degree, or qualifications cloud your judgment. Sometimes, a client wants nothing more than a friendly chat. So, keep your ears open!
Money plays many different roles in the working world. Regarding your job itself, the chances are that you’ll be handling money and sales. You may even have some say over the business accounts, or profit margins and so on. If this is the case, a simple mistake could cause massive issues. So, you have to learn fast here. If you’ll be deeply involved in your company’s money matters, it’s worth doing some extensive studying. Buy some books and read up on the issue in your spare time. Make sure, too, that you get adequate on the job training. Never fall into the trap of agreeing to continue alone when you’re unsure. You need to know the ins and outs of those finances like the back of your hand.
It’s also important to remember that money matters with regards to earning. The chances are that this is your first time in full-time employment. Even if you took time out to work before uni, you might not have been in such a high paying position. As such, you’ll need to get your head around earning a decent wage each month. It may seem like something you could adjust to fast, but coming into money can be overwhelming. The last thing you want to do is waste the lot. Take your time to get control of a savings account and a decent pension. Don’t learn the hard way how important it is to be wise with your money.
The art of commitment
In uni, you have deadlines to work to. You also, of course, have lectures to attend. But, things are quite lenient. The odd missed lecture here and there doesn’t spell the end of your education. And, while deadlines are stressful, they’re only so for a concentrated period. But, when you get a job, you have to handle a commitment of a different king. For the most part, you’ll be working a set rota of at least 9-5, or more in some cases. This can be a major shock to the system if you’ve never had a time commitment before.
Unlike a deadline, your job won’t go away if you work hard enough. And, you can’t miss a day just because. You’ll lose your job that way. Instead, you have to get used to the fact that you need to be at a particular time and place. It’s a little like school; only there’s no one else making you do it. But, if you don’t turn up, you don’t get paid.
It may take a little while, but you should get into the swing of the commitment game just through doing. It’s also worth developing timekeeping methods which work for you. If you need to tell yourself you start earlier than you do to make it on time, don’t hesitate to do it.