It is overwhelming to understand what employers are looking for. There’s a wide variety of companies, industries, and job functions. Each job differs from the other. However, you cannot learn all these things from school. Whether you are a high school or college graduate, you mostly enter your first job with the same basic skills. Fortunately, that’s what first jobs are for. The first job teaches you how to communicate and deal with people better. They also open opportunities for the workers.
Learning Skills on the Job
It’s different to learn skills in college and learn skills while on the job. The latter refers to learning and developing knowledge while performing tasks at work. It’s different to experience these things than just to know them. People learn things during the onboarding process while some learn tasks while they’re doing the job.
Sure, you know how to talk with your friends and classmates, but how about with coworkers? Do you know how to deal with different people on the job? Do you know how to negotiate with your bosses and manage office relationships? Communication is the key to success in almost any industry. Your ability to communicate can make or break you.
The best way to learn this skill while on the job is to observe how people talk with and treat each other. You need to learn how to “read the room.” Once you gain a perspective of your coworkers’ and bosses’ strengths and weaknesses, then you will also develop the right communication skills that you will use in different circumstances.
Do you know that a lot of people managed to be an “expert” in a certain product or industry without taking the necessary course in college? A lot of tycoons have never set foot in a college and yet, they are the best at what they do. That does not mean you should forego college, of course. But it also means that college is not the be-all and end-all of your dreams.
You can, in fact, take an ETEEAP online class. In the Philippines, ETEEAP stands for Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program. This aims to allow working professionals who were not able to finish their college education to earn a degree without attending a traditional college class. The skills and knowledge you earn in the industry can be equivalent to points that will be deducted from the required school units to earn a degree.
This is something you would not learn anywhere else than in your first job. It’s also probably the most important thing you will ever learn. This talks about how you deal with people at work and with your clients. Professionalism refers to making the right decisions no matter how exhausted, stressed, and pressured you are at work.
Professionalism means always dealing with a calm and collected mind. These are some of the things you will learn at work. You cannot let your emotions rule your decisions. You have to be practical and logical with every decision dependent on facts and not on hearsay.
Sure, good colleges and universities will provide plenty of opportunities to hone your leadership skills. These will help you with your first job. But true leadership skills are hones when you have everything to lose. You will soon find out how different leading an academic organization is to be leading a marketing department. With the former, you might lose the position because of a bad decision. Failure in the latter will cost money and the jobs of everyone else.
But more than anything else, first jobs will also teach you the importance of knowing how to listen, too. Good leaders are good listeners. They’re the ones who listen to feedback from employees and customers. They’re the ones who make decisions based on what they learn from the stakeholders.
You may think you have good time management skills already, but you don’t know what you’re facing until you set foot in your first job. Time management is different when other people are going to be affected by your absence, tardiness, and inability to meet deadlines. Back in school, being tardy means getting a remark on your school record. Failure to submit projects on time means a demerit on your grades.
But when you work and continue to have problems with time management, your lack of skills here will affect the whole company. People actually rely on you to be efficient with your time. You’re not only causing the company to lose money, but you’re also affecting your coworkers’ timelines.
Your first job will teach you a lot of things about commitment. You need to commit to learning and growing. It is not always easy to admit that you are lacking when you enter your first job. Sometimes, people tend to think they can conquer the world from their very first day. There are a lot of learning and growing to do in your first job.