If you are going to start on your first job, its good that you are reading this article, for others who have already been there and done that, this article may give you a chance to reflect upon your own experiences, your own learning’s.
Your first job is not just about a great salary, fancy glass office, office cab pick up and drop, free food in the cafeteria, and lots of parties. These things are more or less – a standard in most companies – with minor variations. These offerings and frills may be a dream and desire for graduates who would love to spend some time in “some” job, and well then possibly head for a professional degree – an MBA etc. before they plan to start on a serious career.
If you are any bit serious about your career – either with a professional degree or with a normal graduate degree – you should look for some of these in your first job.
While compensation, industry and job type will be based on your qualifications and ability to crack the interview and find yourself a job, some additional aspects that you may look for & leverage in your first job are as mentioned.
1. A chance to interact with people & network: Business is all about people, and the better you are at interacting with people , you have a higher degree of confidence in yourself as well as in getting things done. Sales jobs are the jobs that give your tremendous exposure of meeting people, dealing with situations, and crisis resolutions. Look for a job that gives you an opportunity to interact with people – it could be a sales job or research job or any thing else. If its a functional job like HR , Finance, IT, Engineering – look for opportunities to interact with people within the system and take your learning’s from them. Remember – your desk does not teach you much – walking around does make you more aware and confident. A workplace or a job that isolates may not help you much in developing your people skills.
2. Skills that enhance your employability: The business requirements for every sector keeps on changing, and the skills required for various jobs, senior level jobs, team roles etc. also keep evolving based on changes and developments in business, technology etc. You need to look for roles that help you gain and develop skills that can help you stay employable and in demand with changing expectations of the industry and job market. If you are working on a tool or a platform that is highly specific to a sector may not help your “employability” aspect. For example: An experience on a custom made ERP platform in use by any one company may have lower changes of making you employable as compared to an experience on a Oracle or SAP ERP. Lots of companies use SAP / ORACLE and your skills can be demand at many places.
3. Assignments that go beyond your job descriptions: Your first job is a formative phase , where you get to sample work , get a feel of office, workplace, and gain on various kinds of learning’s. In such a scenario – being too rigid about what you want to do, may prove negative for your career. At times we notice some fresh campus graduates saying – “ that’s not my job” – well if you don’t do it – it’s normally you who would loose on the learning’s associated with the assignment. You should ideally look for jobs & work places where in you get an opportunity to multitask, experiment with new projects etc. Mature companies build their trainee development programs around multiple projects, cross functional exposures etc. but for companies which don’t have such tailor made programs you will have to find your own learning’s.
4. Learning ! Learning & More Learning : Your job is not just about salary and perks. Its about learning – adding on practical experience to the theory learnt in school. Your learning’s and ability to develop yourself with new skills will determine your suitability for future career growth.
Just think about it – does it make sense to work at company- A, where you have nothing much to do but get a fancy pay packet or is it better to work at a company- B where in you get to do better quality work for a marginally lesser pay. Well, one year down the you would have better chances of getting a high paying job if you have gained some good experience at company B as compared to company A.You are welcome to add to this article through comments based on your own experiences and learning’s.