Written by 7:27 am Career, Education

How to Start Your Career Path

Landing the job is just the beginning. How you kickstart your work now will significantly affect your future.

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Starting a job during the summer, especially for recent college graduates, is common. These jobs are often seen as more substantial and long-term compared to summer gigs or internships. It marks the end of years of effort to get to this point.

However, it’s crucial to remember that landing the job is just the beginning. How you kickstart your work now will significantly affect your future.

The Significance of Self-Directed Learning

As careers become more fluid, spanning different companies and industries, individuals are increasingly responsible for charting their own paths. They must actively seek opportunities to acquire new skills, take on greater responsibilities, recognise when it’s time for a change, and connect with the right people to support their journey. We’re now in the age of lifelong learning, where education doesn’t stop after graduation.

This is especially true with the rapid advancement of technology. Success in the future of work hinges on individuals who can cultivate effective relationships and embrace a mindset of continuous growth, curiosity, and lifelong learning.

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One crucial aspect of excelling in these dynamic careers is personal learning. According to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters of adults consider themselves lifelong learners, with 74 per cent engaging in personal growth-related learning. Additionally, 63 per cent of working professionals participate in activities aimed at career development.

In a professional setting, personal learning encompasses understanding the specific work environment and honing essential interpersonal skills. This not only clarifies your role but also enhances job satisfaction.

Establishing connections with mentors, sponsors, and workplace role models is an effective way to develop these skills. These individuals offer valuable insights into thriving within a particular organisational context, identify potential pitfalls to avoid, recognise opportunities to seize, provide objective feedback, and advocate on your behalf. To succeed in your job, starting from day one, it’s vital to adopt a personal learning mindset and forge relationships with those who can help you grow.

Embrace a 30-60-90-Day Approach

When you begin a new job, the urge to make a quick impact with impressive results can be strong. However, it’s vital to start with a thoughtful approach. Begin by taking small steps to understand your responsibilities and gather feedback. Regardless of how your organisation sets goals, adopting a 30-60-90 day mindset can benefit your career. Here’s how it works:

To win your customers over you need to understand them.
  1. Set Three-Month Goals: Figure out what you need to achieve or accomplish in the first 90 days. Define how you’ll measure your success.
  2. Create an Action Plan: Break down your goals into what needs to happen in the first, second, and third months to reach them.
  3. Seek Feedback: Identify people who can provide feedback at the 30, 60, and 90-day marks. Use this feedback to improve and adjust your goals.

After the initial 90 days, use what you’ve learned about your work, yourself, and your workplace to set new 90-day goals, and repeat the process.

During the first 30 days, establish clear expectations with your manager regarding your job responsibilities and how your performance will be evaluated. This clarity reduces confusion, enhances job satisfaction, and boosts engagement. It also helps you focus better and reduces mental stress.

Lastly, be prepared for some initial imbalance for approximately 90 days. It takes this amount of time to adapt to new routines, understand your role and organisation, and build relationships. While the adjustment period may not last the full 90 days, mentally preparing for this timeframe can help you navigate it more effectively if needed.

Observe, Ask, Think, Repeat

When you start a new job, it’s a fantastic chance for you to learn purposefully. This is when you see things with fresh eyes before you’re influenced by the workplace culture or routines. Though it might seem overwhelming, it’s the perfect time to pay close attention to what’s happening around you and why. Here are some simple steps to make the most of this period:

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  1. Notice Power Dynamics: Observe who has a voice in meetings and whose voices are ignored. If you’re in an office, look at the layout and consider why people sit where they do. These clues reveal the power structure, which is important information, especially when you’re seeking mentors and sponsors.
  2. Ask Meaningful Questions: As the newcomer, you have the privilege of asking the questions others may be hesitant to. Avoid questions with readily available answers on the internet. Instead, ask “why” questions. For example, inquire about the reasons behind certain processes or why you’re assigned to a particular project.
  3. Reflect on Alignment: Take time to think about how well your role, the organisation, and its expectations match your values, strengths, and interests. Reflect on whether they align with you or not. It’s okay if they don’t align perfectly; this is just valuable information for your future.
  4. Take Notes and Send Them to Your Future Self: While you gather all this information, make notes about your initial impressions. Email these notes to yourself and schedule to receive them six months later. This exercise will reveal how much you’ve learned about yourself, the organisation, and your potential for success.

In summary, use your early days in a new job to observe, ask questions, reflect, and document your journey. It’s a valuable time for learning and self-discovery.

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