Now that you’ve graduated, an exciting yet tense time is in store for you, so here are some things to be aware of. As a fresh graduate, the world of opportunity is ahead of you. Don’t wait for an opportunity to show up but take steps to seek them out instead. It may not be the ideal opportunity that you want right now, but if you believe in something called “process,” then you will understand that the process will lead you to that ideal opportunity later on.
1. Process and Perspective
Everything has a beginning, including you as a person who becomes ready for life. Your career too has a starting point and then the process of learning up a job and experience over time. In this process, your perspectives on work specifically will change, and you need to be flexible. Your entire outlook on life and work will face serious challenges. What you think should be like “A” ends up being like “B”.
We are led to believe that generally, young people are impatient and want success right now without having to go through a long process of learning. As such, many have become disillusioned and frustrated, even depressed when things don’t go their way. We heard of many success stories of influencers and social media millionaires, but the truth is that they all went through a learning curve, a process. Many of these millionaires have mentors and a community guiding and supporting them, they are not all that independent after all.
So, be patient and commit yourself to a process of learning. In saying this, we are not telling you to join any company or take any job. However, let’s say you graduated from a medical imaging course. You don’t necessarily have to work in the same industry. Instead, you can try looking for something you can do, like being a general medical assistant for the time being. The experience of this job will prove useful for the next.
Your perspective should be on the longer term and have a rough plan to map out a path. For example, you can target to be a medical imaging head of department in about ten years after developing the skills and experience to reach this top position. Skill building and experience is that process, and that takes time and patience.
2. Focus on Achievements on your resume
You can do some research in this area, such as on LinkedIn. Search out the career and resumes of people in your chosen profession who have gone before you. What does their resume look like? What experience and certifications do they have? Do they have any international experience?
For more on this, check out our article, “Resumes of Recognition”.
3. Potential vs Skill vs Grades
If you already have your first job now, do you think your potential, skill or grades made him hire you? The answer is potential as a result of grades.
You do not have working experience yet but your grades are the first indicator of intelligence and potential to work. The grades achieved in college and some of the skills do matter, but they matter less. The employer saw potential in you because of the way you communicate, your way of thinking, and how you presented yourself. This is why there is a face-to-face meeting called the interview.
You also have one important thing going for you which is youth. They don’t expect you to know everything, but they do expect some logic, common sense, and the ability to take instructions and carry them out professionally. They understand you need to be given a chance to go through the process, which brings us to our next point.
4. Dressing well for that first impression
We can’t say this enough. Dressing well is important because people who don’t know us will only judge us from the outside. Ours is a consumer society where value is initially placed on the outer sheen. People who meet us for the first time look on the outside. When we buy things at the supermarket, we are captivated by the packaging. Remember, employers size you up in a few seconds.
5. Be careful of social media and don’t gossip
Be careful of what you say and how you say it. Quite recently I was informed of a young woman who was offended by me and a few close friends. Instead of coming to see us personally, she vented her anger on a Facebook status post. This indirect communication is totally immature, and it reflects badly on a person’s character.
Employers and recruiters routinely screen a person on their social sites to get a feel of who they are. Immature rants and cursing are just going to make you look less attractive to them. Social media has its place, but it cannot have all the place or it will turn on you. Be cautious when saying things or posting pictures online.
At the same time, just don’t be part of the gossip-mongering club because your closest gossip friend could be the enemy that wants to extract your feelings about others, including about the boss and then tell it to someone else. That’s a bad, bad idea.
6. Develop a good relationship with everyone and don’t blindside the boss
Developing good relationships from the very beginning and being a likeable person is the key to a good future of promotion and advancement. Helping your colleagues allows you to learn other parts of the job in the department and learn how they function as a unit. You will understand their challenges, pain points, how and why things are done the way they are. You can understand the strengths and weaknesses of each person and help mentor them to find a better way to alleviate that part of the job. For example, a senior staff member may have never heard of the wonders of OCR (Optical Character Recognition). A staff of ours was given a 50 page document to type and format within two days. A young staff member saw this and offered help. By using OCR, the whole document was scanned, digitised, and formatted within a day. A crucial and repetitive pain point was relieved, a friendship was formed. There would have been some jealousy or some others might be unbothered, but the benefits outweigh these in the long run. This is just one example.
Keeping your boss informed of some things is important, especially if you’re asked to help someone else from another department. Inform your boss by email and seek their approval first before you go “gung ho” for others outside your department. You don’t want other heads of department coming up to your boss and thanking him for letting you help them on “his time” and he gets surprised that way. This can backfire on you because he has a whole lot of more important things lined up for you that he couldn’t have released you to others at that time. It would appear that your boss got played, embarrassed and not on top of things. So helping has to be smart too.
Remember that although you are there for yourself, you are there for the department and the company. You are there to represent the company and how you, as a “consultant, can do your part” to overcome some challenges. There’s more to share in this regard, but that will be a post for another time.
And now we come to our final point.
7. Developing Trust
Trust is the final result of working well together. This applies to both the employee and the employer. If both parties can come to this point, everyone benefits. This is the unfortunate truth. Many employees leave because trust is broken. There was no point discussing anymore because the management just won’t listen. They failed to understand that they are in the “process” too. The same thing happens on the employees side. Complacent employees sometimes have misplaced expectations. This may indicate that trust was not given a chance to form from the day they started work.
Trust takes time and some risk. It’s the gold that both you the employee and the employer must discover. After working for about a year, ask yourself. Has your boss been trusting you and vice-versa? If the answer is yes, then that is your place to grow. If you’re not sure, then YOU take the steps to make sure that this happens. Now that you have read and understood this, step up and make the process work.
Speaking of relationships, it pays to develop one with your recruitment agency. Partner with us to get yourself on the right track of landing your first job.