Your first steps into the working world will bring many surprises. As a fresh graduate entering the workforce, you may land a job related to your course of study or one that is poles apart from what you studied in university or polytechnic.
Whatever the circumstance, you would want to ensure that you make all the right moves in your first job. Here are some tips:
1. Set objectives and know your organisation’s expectations
Before you start work, speak to the human resource manager or your supervisor about what is expected of you. It is also good to make a list of personal objectives and professional goals you want to achieve for the first year.
Be realistic about your expectations. You are not going to be given the plum assignments straightaway until you have proved yourself. Knowing this will help you avoid frustration when you are not given the work you want. Be patient, show you are eager to learn and remain motivated.
2. Keep an open mind
There will be times when the tasks given to you are not related to what you have learnt in the classroom. Keep an open mind and do your best.
New experiences always offer you a chance to learn — whether it is seeing something from a different perspective or picking up a new set of skills. Data entry and database management, for example, may offer newbies a chance to acquaint themselves with the company’s key clients and stakeholders.
3. Fulfil roles conscientiously
Most new employees seek to impress their employers when they first start out. The best way to go about doing this is by ensuring that you complete your tasks diligently. You might not enjoy what has been assigned to you in your first few months on the job, but the best way to deal with it is to accept work with enthusiasm and good grace.
Sometimes, your manager may give you easier tasks to test whether you are able to handle them before moving you on to advanced ones. If you are an intern, you can expect to be asked to compile databases or make phone calls for your superiors.
Some rookies might see certain tasks given to them as “an insult to their qualifications”. The other extreme is when you are suddenly given a task that is too complex for someone who is just starting out. Take all these as challenges and opportunities to familiarise yourself with the pace and workings of the company.
4. Make your presence felt
Learn to speak up at work to remind your manager that you exist.
You may think that as a junior executive, it would seem presumptuous to offer your comments or opinions during team meetings, but as long as you speak politely, there is nothing wrong with being vocal. It will let your boss know you are assertive, and it reflects your ability to communicate and interact with your colleagues.
5. Enrich your experience
It takes independence, initiative and a positive attitude to thrive and survive in the workplace.
For a start, learn as much as you can. Rookies should welcome courses and seminars that are offered by their HR departments to boost their skills. This lets your employer know you are keen to learn and improve yourself. Take the initiative to look for solutions yourself, or ask when in doubt.
Although it may be daunting, asking your superiors to review your performance during your first few months or probation period is a good way to gauge your progress and find out what they think of your work so far. Make sure that you work on the areas they highlight for improvement.
The performance review is also an opportunity for you to discuss ways to maximise your potential in the company and increase your chances of achieving success at work.