Your first job is a big deal. It is a chance to understand how the working world works, to see if an industry is right for you, and to prove your skills. Amid the excitement and the challenges – of which there will be many – remember it is just the first step of the journey. There is plenty of time to reach career milestones, so use this first year to understand the sector in which you work, learn from colleagues and set yourself realistic targets.
Recent research from Monster.com in the Philippines uncovered the expectations and challenges of fresh graduates looking for their first job. It also indicated how they defined success in their first job. Here are a few goals you should consider setting in order to make the beginning of your career a success.
Education, education, educationBy far the most popular goal was the chance to develop new skills to help you travel further, and perhaps faster, in your chosen career. Nearly 60% of Filipinos identified this as the primary goal in the first year of the first job. No wonder: the world of work is changing rapidly as new technologies enter the market and in-demand skills evolve to keep pace with change.
Use your first year to scope out trends in your sector and identify what skills may be useful will be useful in the future and how you can develop them. Talk to your manager and see if the company supports training. Remember that lifelong learning is more than a buzzword. In your quest for skills, don’t ignore developing soft skills, such as creativity, teamwork and communication – these can all be learned on the job and are just as important as role-specific skills.
Target practice14% of Filipinos polled in the survey said meeting the goals set by their supervisor or manager was their own objective, too. This surprisingly small number might reflect a lack of communication between employee and manager on just what those goals are.
Getting on track for a promotion or career progression is hard if you don’t know the criteria on which you are being judged. Once you feel a bit more comfortable in the job - say, three or four months into the role - ask to sit down with your manager and discuss what their expectations of you are in the first year, and how you can get there.
Finding fulfilment One thing is for sure – the first few months of the new job will be tough. The transition from full-time studying to full-time working is difficult. But, after the initial shock you might want to take a step back and see if the industry, and the particular company, are the right fit for you.
More than 11% of those polled in the Philippines said success after the first 12 months was feeling happy and content going to work each day. Take a look around and ask yourself if you would be happy doing your manager, or your manager’s boss’, job in the future. That will help you decide if this is the right career path, or if you need to pivot.
Making an impact Ranked fourth in the Monster.com survey, just over 8% of respondents in the Philippines said they wanted to know they were making a difference in their job. Discover what ‘making a difference’ means to you. Is it delivering great service so customers go away happy? Or it could be contributing to the company’s CSR scheme, or being in a firm that makes a positive impact on society. Once you have that specific goal in mind, concentrate on what you need to do to make a difference, and gain job satisfaction that will carry you into year two and beyond.