Okay, you’re fresh out of high school or college and managed to land your first job. This one’s serious – it’s not a simple part-time job without any future, nor it is a temporary full-time gig meant to provide funding for your college life – and it is the first chapter of your career as a professional. The first job can be scary, it can be filled with new experiences, and it is surely packed with unknown things you have to find out on your own. It all can be a bit overwhelming but not something you can’t conquer. With a bit of patience, steady nerves, a healthy dose of improvisation, and a pinch of persistence you will soon be on top of things, ready for new challenges. But it’s worth to know what exactly to expect with your first job, simply to know what to prepare yourself for. Here are some things all of you who crossed the job gates should know about.
1. Yes, there will be lots of learning
Ending your career as a student and entering professional waters doesn’t mean there’s no learning. In fact, you will probably spend first few months learning about the basics. Do not expect to just arrive at your office knowing everything there’s to know.
You will have to learn about the company you’re at, about each part of your new job, about how you should do it, about all those practical things we just cannot find out at the college or during professional training, internships, or while volunteering for different companies.
So yes, expect to continue learning about all sorts of things and do not think education stops once you land a job.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Asking question is one of the best ways we can learn about new things and this is especially important do on your first job. There’s no bad question so feel free to ask your boss and co-workers about anything. That won’t make you look incompetent. If anything, asking the right questions will just make you look like someone who just wants to be better at their job.
If something isn’t quite clear it better to ask about it and get a comprehensive clarification than to do it your own way. But, some questions should be skipped, like those concerning the basics of your job. If your position implies you should be perfectly familiar with Word, Excel, or Photoshop, try skipping questions about those, it will just do harm.
3. Yes, things can and will get pretty boring
Once you start your first job do not expect fun and exciting times all the time. Be ready to work on tedious and repetitive tasks, tasks that look just too simple to be interesting or those that you think are just below you. That’s normal because, you know, you’re on your first job meaning all the boring assignments will be sent our way.
That also means everyone will be busy testing you so make sure to get everything done on time and with a certain level of quality because the climb towards better jobs is filled with run-of-the-mill challenges no one wants to tackle but have to if they expect to actually earn that promotion.
4. You are now a part of a bigger entity
As soon as you land your first job you have to know that from that moment you’re a part of the organization and that all your actions have to be in line with your company’s philosophy. That means you have to think carefully about what you are posting on social networks and how do you behave in public.
You should share your organization’s values and if you think you don’t share them at least try to respect them and do not go against them in public. You are now representing your company and should behave accordingly when in public and online spaces, especially on social networks which are today available to everyone so think twice before sharing questionable posts or posting opinions opposite of what your work organization represents and strive for.
5. Your employer could assign you evaluation tests
If you thought testing phase ended once you got the job, think again. Many employers like to submit additional tests to new employees as a way to see their progress on the job or to simply test their skills from time to time.
So, expect to be called by the HR department and handed out a couple of tests. These can be work-related or they could be some of the various general cognitive tests circling around. You can prepare for cognitive ones by taking the Wonderlic cognitive ability test, one of the most famous of them all. Just visit this link and take the practice test; it isn’t the real thing but it represents it fairly well.
6. No, the pay won’t blow your mind
The first job usually means relatively poor pay. This is just the first chapter of your professional career meaning you start on the bottom and then climb your way to the top. Almost all jobs start this way and there’s simply no way to go around this fact and get a huge paycheck on your first job ever.
But fortunately, starting at the bottom means promotion gates are open and they usually are pretty broad for all newcomers. Just work hard, learn a lot, be productive and in a few months you won’t get the promotion but can expect your first ever pay raise.
7. Expect to meet plenty of new people
You don’t have to socialize with every single co-worker but at least try remember their names and positions. It is always good to know each co-worker by their name because it implies that you are focused, that you care about them, and that you aren’t just a living robot who doesn’t care about co-workers.
8. Effective communication is everything
Effective communication is the most important part of almost any job so try answering emails immediately after receiving them; be clear and concise when discussing different tasks with your boss and co-workers; try answering relatively quickly to any message you receive during off-hours; and make sure your written reports are concise, professionally looking, easy to understand, and without any fluff.