Your First Job: 20 pointers for new graduates
From the Perspective of a Headhunter
Are you graduating from University this year? If so, here are a few pointers that will help you develop a healthy attitude towards your next step - Landing your first job.
Whatever you’ve been told by the school you attended, this is likely what you will find at your first job. Be prepared.
- Your academic credentials get you hired, because you have little or no experience that an employer can judge you on.
- Once you’re hired, your credentials don’t matter.
- Once you’re hired, what matters is your ability and willingness to learn the job and business you’re in. Especially if it’s your first job, that takes all your time, devotion and hard work.
- When you graduated from college or grad school, you were at the top of your academic game. You were a star with great prospects.
- Once you start work, you’re on the ground floor, on the bottom rung, and you need to prove yourself all over again.
- A job is not school.
- School is where you pay to learn what you want. A job is where you get paid to do whatever your employer needs you to do.
- In school, the work you do accrues 100% to your knowledge. At a job, the work you do accrues 100% to your employer’s profits. Hopefully, some of that accrues to your acumen. Most of it won’t – because that’s not why you were hired.
- Employers don’t pay you to be challenged. They pay you mainly to do boring work.
- The job you’re doing could probably be done by someone smart with less education. But they hired you because they expect you’ll go farther than someone with less education – if you’re willing to work as hard at your new job as you did in college.
- Employers don’t hire you out of school because they want home runs. They hire you because they want someone to carry water, clean the bases and tidy the dugout. They don’t tell you that in school, because if they did you might not pay to get an education.
- Your employer has people that hit home runs – but damned if they’re going to hand you a bat right out of school because they hope you’ll hit .500.
- Your employer won’t put you in the game before you prove you can field 10,000 balls flawlessly. Pro athletes spend most of their time practicing.
- The challenge when you start the job is to do what you’re told by the people who are paying you. They will expect you to do that job a long time because they really don’t want to start all over again with someone else.
- You will be paid what they promised you – and it’ll likely be far from handsome.
- Your reward is not your salary. Your reward is being permitted to come back each day to keep doing your small part – not to swing for the bleachers.
- Practice will take years, a step at a time – and you don’t get special rewards for making it to the next step.
- You won’t be worth recruiting away for a long time. Headhunters don’t get paid big fees to recruit newbies. There are millions of you. Hiring any one of you is free.
- You’ve heard the rule about how it takes 10,000 hours devoted to doing one thing before you become an expert. Do the math. Even if you get to spend half your work day practicing that one thing, it will take years to become the expert that another employer will recruit. (More likely, you’ll spend 90% of your time on busy work.)
- The good news is, if you focus on doing your job so your employer profits handsomely from it, your skills will grow and you will be successful.
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