March 27, 2019 Rodney Cowled
first job Career Success

Your First Corporate Job: 4 Tips for Success

Build Connections – IQ & EQ

Throughout our education our IQ & knowledge-retention abilities are thoroughly tested. EQ (emotional intelligence) however, is far too often neglected. Too often it’s not taught, let alone tested.

A mass of information is pumped into our brains, during our education. After which, we’re measured on our ability to regurgitate that information to a willing audience. 

The thing is, in the workplace your subject will not always be willing. Your audience will have their own agendas, ideas and responsibilities. 

In the workplace you’re not only tested on your knowledge but also your ability to communicate that knowledge. You’re measured by your ability to convince others, your ability to listen, to understand their position, & to weigh the benefits of different viewpoints.

Regurgitating knowledge, fails to take into account this extra context. If it’s not a natural skill for you developing your EQ is important & necessary. 

The best way to increase your influence as a newbie is to build relationships. This relational equity, which means little to nothing in a university exam, can make or break you in the workplace. 

How to build these relationships? As long as you’ve got the basics down: being open, talking to others, engage, smile; then, the answer is to get involved in “outside-of-the-office” work events & opportunities. 

Go to the after-work drinks, join the company basketball team, go to the poker night & etc.

An hour spent with colleagues outside the office, is worth 10 in the office. 

Leave a Lasting Impression.

As you’ve just started you’ve a fresh set of eyes. This puts you in a unique position. When you’re starting out ask “why?” often, and wait for a response. 

In organisation, there are often lots of processes and practices that are just habits, often without reason. People are just used to doing something a certain way, so they do it that way. All without stopping to consider if it’s the best way to it. 

You’re new to the role & industry, you’re uninhibited by tradition & habit, while you’re learning your new role stop and think about the why & then ponder if there’s a better way of doing something. 

Are you able to make the process more efficient for yourself, your peers & those who are coming after you? 

E.g. are you manually pulling data & creating reports? Could you automate the process with a macro or script. Even if you’re not overly technical you’d be surprised what you can achieve with a little time of forums and watching YouTube tutorials. 

This sort of initiative can leave a lasting impression & make you stand out from the crowd.

Learn Transferable Skills – The reason behind the process.

Almost every role will have some sort of hyper-specific detail or skill, which you’ll learn only to never use again in another role. These specifics are required for the current role but are irrelevant outside of it. The bigger picture or the “why” behind these specifics however, is often valuable industry-wide. 

Seek to look past the step-by-step guide. Seek to look past the details to find the why. This why, the bigger picture can teach you lessons which will serve you throughout your career. 

E.g. remembering the step-by-step guide on how to run a specific report is likely useless in your next role, but understanding the reason for the report could be invaluable.  

You’re New, remember that.

Your colleagues will have years & even decades more experience than you.  You won’t know as much as them, but you likely won’t be expected to either. Be easy on yourself.

That said don’t use this as a reason not to try things. Especially in situations where there is little to no risk, give it a try. Your initiative may reap great rewards.

The early days of your career are a time of discovery.  It’s the time to put in the hard work, learn all you can and to try new things.