Editorial Note: In India, recent graduates are referred to as “Freshers”. As in all geographies, someone’s first job out of school is a defining moment. While this blog is written by a recent grad in India, Ajay’s helpful guidance knows no boundaries.
Being a fresher in a company – be it a start-up or a global company – can often be intimidating. It is the starting point of a major part of one’s life and everyone wants it to be perfect or at least one of the better memories in their life. Freshers play an important role in the growth of a company; freshers are like the bud which provides the growth and beauty of the plant. Just as the bud is important to a plant, the plant is also important for the stability and livelihood of the bud. What follows are some pointers that can help you get the most from your first job out of school.
First impressions count
This is not unique to a fresher but for any new employee. Everyone’s eyes will be on us, they want to know what we bring to the table, how we interact with our colleagues and how we approach our job. It is up to us to make sure we mark our arrival on a positive note and the rest will be smooth sailing.
Communication is key
Every day brings a new task or a new challenge for us to solve but that does not mean we come to office, finish the task assigned to us and leave (You don’t want to be that guy!). Instead, talk to your peers, colleagues, or office staff and get to know about the corporate culture. Let them share their experiences with how they may have struggled at the beginning of their careers and the fact they grew from every experience. Getting to know the people around you will allow them to get to know you better.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Being a newbie or fresher, it is a common tendency to prove one’s worth. In doing so we stop ourselves from asking for any help while facing a task that may be bit too difficult for fear of being judged. Reality cannot be any further away from this. Asking for help can be the first step towards getting to know your colleagues and forming a bond. It will give you insight on how to approach a challenging task. Remember communication is key.
Be it a team of five or 100, be accountable for your role. Instead of waiting for your team lead or manager to come and ask you for updates, proactively provide specific updates about your findings and your approach to the task. This helps establish independence, trust, and reliability. That is how you establish yourself in the company.
Opportunity knocks on the door every now and then but it’s up to us whether we ignore it or answer it. Taking initiative on anything, however small you may think it is, matters. It shows your employer that you are not afraid to take risks; it shows that you can be in charge and get something done on your own or with the help of others. This is a rare quality and a bankable one that will help to build your confidence and help move your career in the right direction.
If you identify the need to change something on the team or how you’ve been asked to do something, you may be inclined to keep it to yourself. Speak up! Talk to your team members or your team lead to let your team know how you would approach the task differently. Regardless of the outcome, you may learn something new about how you approached the task, or better yet, the team may adopt your recommendation. Speaking your mind will not only increase your critical thinking ability but also improve your cognitive and problem-solving skills.
Be open to feedback
Remember that executing the above-mentioned pointers is all well and good. It’s important to remember that, as freshers, we still have a lot to learn and that comes with trial and error. The most important thing is to be open to feedback. Feedback nurtures our growth and being open to feedback from others grounds us and ensures that we keep moving our careers in the right direction.