Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to work in the business world? Here are a few little-known truths that may give you a leg up on the competition:
Myth: If you study hard and make excellent grades, you’ll get a great job.
Employers today want you to have some practical experience in addition to your university training. And they’re right. Succeeding in our competitive business world means you’ll need both a solid foundation in theoretical knowledge and experience applying that knowledge. Plan on completing at least one or two internships in your field before you graduate. You’ll learn the different behaviors, roles, skills, and expectations of the working world while you gain valuable hands-on experience. And you’ll demonstrate to future employers that you’re serious and dedicated about your career choice.
Myth: You won’t need to accept an entry-level job.
The truth is everyone has to pay their dues. Be prepared to spend some time on the bottom rung of the ladder. But here’s the good news: if your work shines and you make sure others know about it, you’re likely to be recognized and advance to bigger and better things. Show initiative and work hard, be visible, and take on projects with enthusiasm. Your career will benefit and you’ll increase your marketability at the same time.
Myth: When you start your career, you’ll have lots of time to “ramp up” and learn the business.
Your first few weeks on the job are important, as you gather information and get a feel for the culture. The business world is fast-paced, and although you’ll be afforded some time to learn the ropes, you’ll want to contribute and be productive as soon as possible. Do your research on the company well in advance of your start date. Once you’ve signed your offer letter, ask for your client roster and any other information that will help get you up to speed. Hit the ground running and you’ll make a positive and lasting impression with colleagues and clients.
Myth: You don’t need anyone else to be successful, just rely on yourself.
Nothing in business happens in a vacuum. It’s critical to your success that you work well and get along with others at your job. Teamwork is the name of the game in the business world, and you’ll be expected to contribute. Make a plan to show off your leadership skills. Volunteer to form a team, or create a task force to tackle a specific challenge in your department. Along the way, keep track of your team’s accomplishments and your contributions to its success.
Myth: Your manager is always there to help you when you need it.
While it’s true that your manager will likely be available to answer questions, don’t be fooled. Your manager has her own challenges and time constraints to deal with. She’s more interested in which problems you can solve for her. Use your time with your manager wisely. If you have questions about corporate policy or where the cafeteria is, consult a colleague first. When you do approach your manager with a problem, don’t expect her to solve it for you. Think through different solutions. Have options available during your discussion and present her with your best recommendation. She’ll appreciate your foresight.