“Woo-hoo! I just got an offer for a dream job!” If that was you just recently – Congratulations! (Actually that was me also a few years ago.) Now that you’ve landed the job, you may be asking yourself questions such as: “Now what’s next?” or “Work life is a different ball game than school life – so how will I cope?” From my previous work experiences at both coop and full-time jobs and from my observations of different workplaces, I have garnered 10 tips that’ll keep one from endlessly asking those questions or similar ones:
1. Know what you want: Ask yourself: “What’s my ideal job?”, “What kind of workplace do I want to be a part of?”, “Who are my ideal team mates?”, “What’s my ideal salary?”, “Where do I see myself in the next 5-6 years?” If you aren’t sure of the response to any of these questions, then you should take some time to reflect as you vet your skills set, talents, interests, past experiences, needs, and your inner voices. Professional speaker and author, Brian Tracy once wrote, “One of the greatest of all success secrets is for you to decide what you really enjoy doing and then find a way to make a good living doing just that.” Whatever decision you end up with, be sure that it’s something your heart yearns for earnestly, something you’ll enjoy doing.
2. Don’t be in a rush to specialize: Starting off, it’s easy to fall into the temptation of diving deep into one single particular subset of a field domain (That of course is if you are super sure about where that’ll lead you especially in a world that’s constantly evolving). It helps to begin with having a taste of different options (as in job roles) to wider your scope of knowledge and skills set before finally deciding to zero in on a more specific entity (that’s after you’ve convinced yourself that , at least, you explored a reasonable number of options available to you). This approach can increase your opportunities moving forward. In short, start broad, then narrow in as you advance. (This point is debatable. It’s only my viewpoint)
3. Maximize your working hours: People get paid for what they do and how much they contribute to the growth of the organisation they work at (no one really gets paid merely for what they know). To be more productive at work then, prioritization is essential. Tasks that are high-value, urgent and important should take preeminence over the other tasks (i.e. the urgent and unimportant, the not-so-urgent and important, and the not-so-urgent and unimportant). Always find out from your manager or supervisor or team lead (whoever you directly report to) which tasks are urgent and important since those tasks tend to yield the most returns. Also, work while you are at work. Ideally, working hours don’t include time to chitchat, surf the net, hang out on Facebook, Snap chat, Instagram, etc (you know the rest). Working hours are only a fraction of the 24 hours we get each day, so they have to be put to best use.
4. Get it done as fast as you can then ask for more: Whenever tasks are assigned to you, pounce on the tasks right away, starting with the most urgent and important one. If you can complete the tasks before the deadline, great! In fact, doing so continually will earn you a good reputation at work. Of course, speed mustn’t be sacrificed for quality; always commit to excellence when doing the tasks. After you’ve completed the tasks assigned to you, take the initiative to ask for more. Why? The more tasks you do, the more experienced you become and consequently, the more competent and confident you become at what you do. Completing assigned tasks excellently well and on time, and taking initiative will set you up as a valuable and essential individual.
5. Seek regular feedback: It is very imperative to know how you are doing at the job and to identify key areas of improvement. Whatever you track improves and whatever you don’t track likely never gets any better. Therefore, from time to time, it helps to meet with your manager or supervisor to discuss what you’ve been doing really well (so you can keep it up and go beyond), what you should start doing or stop doing, and what areas more is expected of you.
6. Find a mentor: In order to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself, it behooves you to have someone who’d guide you on the right path – a mentor. Preferably someone you look up to and admire, someone whose accomplishments sets you in awe, and someone you believe you can learn from because of his or her expertise and experiences. You can liken your collaboration with a mentor as you standing on the shoulder of a giant. With the mountain of experience such a person possesses, you can learn about what works and what doesn’t, which way to go and which way leads to nowhere. Leveraging what a mentor brings to the table will definitely help you achieve your goals faster than if you were to go solo.
7. Share your expertise: As you grow the wealth of your knowledge and enlarge your skills set, look for opportunities to share them. You only get better by doing so; Napoleon Hill attested to that when he remarked, “That which you share will multiply; that which you withhold will diminish.” Publishing articles on media (for example, LinkedIn), creating online tutorials, giving presentations – around your area(s) of expertise are some ways to go about with this.
8. Grow your network: Starting from within your organisation, it helps to establish connections with members of different teams and departments (don’t box yourself). Take one more step further by spreading the web of your network outside of your organisation. Seminars and conferences create the forum to meet with people of like minds, so endeavor to attend such events (if you can). You’ve probably heard people say something like – “It’s not about what you know but who you know” – and truly they are usually right (I mean this in the positive sense though). An idea or opportunity you’ve been longing for may be only one-person away.
9. Work harder on yourself than you do at the job: Getting the job done is key but one thing that’s more important is advancing yourself while at the job. Jim Rohn said it best when he advised, “Learn to work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you work hard on your job you’ll make a living, if you work hard on yourself you can make a fortune.” The quote stresses the importance of personal and professional development. To stay essential in the workplace (and on planet earth), you should commit to constantly learning new skills (both technical and soft skills), honing your existing arsenal of skills, and staying abreast of updates in your field(s). You don’t always have to wait for someone to recommend courses or training before you think about completing them. Be proactive. Here are two suggestions: One, identify the fields that interest you and look for websites that’ll keep you posted on latest happenings in those fields (A search on google.com is a good place to start). Two, always have goals on the specific skills you hope to acquire based on obvious market trends and your career goals.
10. And just do your best: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt once recommended. In whatever you do, commit to excellence, diligence, and continuous learning and beyond the sky will be your limit (that’s if there is a limit beyond the sky). You may not always be the smartest, most innovative, or most knowledgeable person around, but you can and should focus on things that you can control.
There are obviously 101 and more tips, but these ones (the Intro 101 tips on this subject), I believe, make a solid springboard to launch anyone starting off a career journey.
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Originally posted on LinkedIn