From your first supervisor to your first job training, your first career award, and your first work mistake—landing your first job is often the most memorable simply because your first career lessons happen here.
Even if you already have experienced a full-time internship back in college, there is that intimidating, palm-sweating, yet exhilarating feeling during the first interviews and assessments, and being an actual employee and knowing you will be there for the long haul.
Starting your first job is nothing like you've experienced before. It is a foray into a foreign land and will make you feel like being a new kid at school all over again. But you don't have to go into it completely oblivious. Here's what to expect on your first real job.
1. It will not be perfect.
Your first job is rarely the perfect role. Most often than not, it does not matter what position you first start in; what matters is getting your foot in the industry that you want, and the opportunities are endless.
Your first job will also not be your dream job. But it will surely give you the foundation you need in the corporate world.
2. You won't get paid a lot.
Manage your expectations as most entry-level jobs come with entry-level pay.
For example, as much as landing a career in the programming field promises a hefty paycheck, it may still likely start with entry-level pay at first.
But take into account that it is not always about the payslip when it comes to your first job— it is about where this first job can take you and teach you as you progress in your career.
As the saying goes, "First LEARN, then you remove the 'L'."
3. You will need to embrace diversity.
You will have to adjust and accept that you may need to do work outside your job description. You can take this as a negative thing or take it as a challenge, but you will do yourself a big favor at this stage of your career when you embrace these diverse tasks. Not only will you acquire new information, but it will also help you develop that attitude that yearns to discover and grow.
In any case, if you want to stand out and get noticed, you can use this as an opportunity to be recognized. Don't assume that it is enough to just do your assigned tasks. You need to hustle. Even if you do a good job in your tasks, a good job is a bare minimum; it is what you are paid to do.
4. Your attitude matters over skill.
There's a saying that goes, "your attitude will determine your altitude." Your hard work will get you started, but your character will determine how far you will go. That's why it matters to know the company culture because it will set the expectations for how you will behave and work together with your team.
Once you enter the workplace, it will not just be about getting work done but finding better ways to do it with drive and enthusiasm.
You will need to develop strong people skills to be successful in the corporate jungle. It is different from when you were in college, where you just need to get your work done because, in the workplace, it will matter how well you do your work and your attitude while you do it.
5. Making mistakes and asking questions is okay.
There is a misconception that not knowing something is a sign of weakness. But most often than not, the most brilliant move you can do in your first job is to ask questions. Your colleagues will appreciate you more when you point out if something is confusing rather than posing that you know what you are doing and messing things up.
Admitting to your limitations gives you the chance to learn and avoid costly mistakes.
The bottom line is, embrace and learn all you can in your first job. You may not get the best pay, you may not love every task you will do, and you will make many mistakes but still, accept the challenge.
Think of it as a boot camp to earn an entry to the career of your dreams. Do not just clock in, do the work, and clock out—excel at it every day. After all, the fastest way to get out of an entry-level position is to do exceptionally. Don't strive for the bare minimum; strive to be the most valuable. Anyone can work hard, but only a few people leave a mark at their workplace, and those people can seldom be replaced.
About The Author:
Regi Publico is a full-time writer based in Manila who is also an artist for fun. She takes pride in her towering collection of books and loves reading about anything under the sun. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge through every article that she writes.