The labour market is definitely a whirlpool of never ending challenges. There’s no smooth sailing when you’re literally competing with hundreds of thousands of other people while the career bar is constantly being raised. You hear words like MBA, CFA and GMAT being thrown around and you see all kinds of different people getting promoted and demoted all the time. What would make you stand out? What would help you get your dream post? What would differentiate, set you apart and make you the designated person for the designated job?
As someone who’s decided to immerse herself in the labour market alongside my academics, I’ve gone from internship to internship and worked both full-time, part-time and as a freelancer. Therefore, I’ve met all kinds of bosses, and dealt with all sorts of employees- all of whom gave me countless pieces of advice. Some of which, I consider to be life-changing, and therefore, I’ve decided to share them with you:
Don’t rush into graduate studies right after you graduate; work for a few years before proceeding with that:
I’ve been seeing all kinds of fresh grads rushing to get their MBAs or whatever Masters they plan on completing, so I decided to ask one of my bosses, a director at a reputable bank I interned in, if this is a smart career move. Apparently, it is not. He advised me to get out into the real world, watch how things work in the office environment, gain enough experience to be able to benefit more from my masters studies.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and refer to previous acquaintances for advice:
Well, you know how the saying goes: “No man’s an island…” We certainly don’t live on our own and being independent doesn’t mean you have to make all decisions on your own. Talk to your boss, colleagues, professors, relatives or any expert you can get in touch with about whatever career move you’re considering. There’s definitely no shame in asking for solid advice.
Don’t be pulled in by the glitz and glam of certain job offers- think critically before saying ‘yes’:
Before accepting or even applying for a job, always research the company, industry and work environment. Ask about the chances of promotion as well as the hierarchy of employees. Don’t let a high-paying job pull you in only to discover that you have no chances of growth in this company. Be critical and rational.
Start small- there’s no shame in that:
Yes, you may have graduated with a stellar GPA from a high-paid private university, but that doesn’t mean you’re an expert at everything. You won’t get a high-status, high-paying job on a silver platter unless you work your butt off for it and accept that in order to grow, you need to start small and learn how to climb up the stairs of professional accomplishment. Be patient and eager to learn.
Your attitude equals EVERYTHING:
To simply put it: if you have a shitty attitude, you’ll leave a shitty impression and will end up with a shitty reputation. Always display an attitude full of just the right amount of persistence, optimism, amicability and professionalism. Don’t slack off on work or always arrive late and leave early. Don’t be a constant complainer who cannot shut up about how they cannot stand their job. Be someone who motivates and inspires the people around them rather than a constant source of negative energy.
If you’re still a high school/college student, immerse yourself in internships:
Here’s the thing you need to keep in mind if you’re between the ages of 18-22: don’t graduate with an blank C.V. This is your time to try out and experiment with all kinds of different careers, industries, departments and sectors without actually having much financial responsibility to bear. Internships help teach you the proper workplace discipline as well as put all that jargon you studied in textbooks into perspective.