It’s hard to know what to expect when you’re heading off for your first job, it’s a learning curve though, and sometimes things go wrong! Here are ten important lessons I learned from my first job to spare you having to go through the same things!
1 Put the relationship before the task
Often we can be pressed to get things done, but when you spend time investing in relationships, understanding and learning more about your colleagues and clients, completing these tasks becomes a lot easier. This is because you’ve already got people engaged, connected and ready to help you.
2 Set your own career path
Don’t be constrained by paths that others have taken or think that there is only one route to get to where you are going. Larger organisations may have pre-defined career paths, but if those roles don’t work for you then choose your own. Skills and experience are highly transferable so get creative and don’t assume you have to take the traditional route.
3 Move sideways
Often the focus is on getting to the top as quickly as possible. The difficulty is that the higher you move up the ladder, the fewer the opportunities are. Moving sideways in the early stages of your career will broaden your experience, making you more flexible and appealing and giving you much more opportunity and choice to move upwards.
4 Experience over qualifications
Whilst qualifications give you the knowledge, without actually experiencing it, knowledge is just conceptual. Getting involved in as many things as possible, even those opportunities which perhaps are less glamourous, will grow your experience.
5 If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Whether it’s a pay rise you’re after, a promotion, or the chance to get involved in different projects, if you don’t put yourself forward or ask questions then it’s unlikely to come your way. Be patient, but don’t be afraid to make your ambitions known.
6 Ask for feedback
Receiving feedback about your behavioural and communication style will allow you to understand much more about who you are. It will really help you progress in your career as it will reveal any blind spots that may be holding you back as well as highlight your strengths.
7 Get comfortable with 80:20
Most organisations don’t have time for perfection. Getting comfortable with “good enough” and launching or trying things when you’re only 80% ready means you will deliver much more value and learn at the same time.
8 Keep challenging the status quo
Organisations bring in new talent because they want alternative perspectives. However, it’s easy to get brought down by entrenched old-school thinking or the “that doesn’t work here attitude”. Keep pushing and challenges in areas where you can see potential for change and remain true to who you are, after all that’s the reason they hired you in the first place.
9 Know your own value
Being at the “lower end of the ladder” can be difficult when you’re ambitious yet feeling like a small fish in a very big pond. It’s easy to look at others higher up and feel intimidated by their experience, salary or job title. However no matter which role you hold in the organisation, your contributions, opinions and ideas are as valuable as everyone else. Know your worth, share your thoughts.
10 Don’t get too comfortable
Whilst feeling comfortable can be positive, staying in a role that doesn’t challenge you for too long can be detrimental to your development. If you’re not feeling some level of discomfort in your role then you’re not growing and it’s time for a change. Keep the ambition burning; move roles, companies and change things up, even if you don’t think you’re ready.
Written by Hayley Wintermantle.