Need first job tips to make your mark at work? Here are some career tips and career lessons to learn from your first job so you can leave a legacy at work.
Women have made some great strides in their perspective fields, and they continue to do so. The one issue that most come across still is the notion that “it’s still a man’s world.”
Many of them encounter this sort of mentality during their very first job. However, there is hope on the horizon and some of the facts prove just how far women have come.
Despite the many challenges women face at work, they definitely have a chance to make their mark and leave a legacy at work. But, in order to do this, young girls need to begin establishing themselves before, during, and after their first job.
5 Lessons Women Should Learn from Their First Job
Many women have had to learn their professional lessons the hard way. Here are some career lessons to learn from your first job so you have a chance to make your mark and leave a legacy at work.
1. What salary to expect
This is one of the biggest mistakes young girls and even some older women make. Yes, in some ways the wage issue is a problem. However, you may be making it worse for yourself.
How? By failing to know your worth as an employee. If you fail to see your worth as a person and the worth of your time, you’ll just accept whatever comes down the pike. Every woman needs to understand her own worth so she can ask for it.
Some people have found that women ask for a lower salary at the very start. This does not bode well for others who are trying to make their mark in the professional world.
Every woman needs to set an example for those who are following in her footsteps. More women need to set boundaries right from the start. If women set their own wages and learned to ask for what they wanted, they would be compensated accordingly.
How can more women do this successfully? Look at what the job should be paying. There are websites like Glassdoor that will give you a benchmark for what a fresher can expect in your industry. Use that as a guide to ask for what you deserve.
If more employers see women doing this and showing up with their homework done, they might just be inclined to give in. Understand the worth of your time and don’t be afraid to ask for proper compensation.
2. Making mistakes is part of the job
This is another one of the lessons girls need to learn the sooner, the better. Failing on the job is okay. It’s fine if you make mistakes. With everything that seems to be stacked against women right from the start, many feel they must be perfect.
Some feel that if they aren’t perfect for the job, then a man will come along and take their place. In some respects, this is what helps the fall.
Many girls are taught that failing means they will be replaced. The opposite is actually more truthful. If you show you can fail at the job and learn from those mistakes, then you will have a better shot.
Making mistakes means you are human. It also means you are willing to give it another try and make amends for what you didn’t do the first time. Think about it this way: many men have done the same, but they never learned from what they did wrong.
If you show the boss you can do the opposite, you have a better shot at making it in all subsequent jobs after. Sometimes, you have to fail at least once or twice in one thing in order to find success in another.
3. You’re more prepared than you realise
This is another thing that holds women back. Many women feel they’re not ready to move forward and they don’t have the self-confidence to do so. This is why they tend to stay in dead-end jobs for most of their life.
This happens even after they have moved on from their very first workplace. Some women tend to think they will have this, that and the other in a year or so. These are all to stay exactly where they are. Why? Self-confidence!
There are many skills you can learn on the job. You have to believe that you can. The confidence gap is a major determining factor in this. While it’s important to know your capabilities and limitations, it’s equally crucial not to put yourself down.
If more women put this mindset aside, their skills, self-esteem and self-confidence would grow. Learn to trust yourself in the job, whether it’s your first or your tenth. If you take advantage of an opportunity as it comes up, you might just be surprised where it takes you.
4. You’re not alone
Women can sometimes feel like they have to be an island unto themselves. Their ambition and determination set unrealistic expectations, which no human could possibly reach.
There are others who understand you perfectly and do the same, even some men. You just should give them a chance. Giving others an opportunity to help you out is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of internal strength.
It’s not just saying that you can’t do it alone. It’s also saying you don’t want to do it alone. Hold the bar high, but relinquish unrealistic expectations.
Some end up building up a wall after their first work experience. This happens especially if the experience was bad. Don’t let this happen to you. It will only lead to disaster.
Give your co-workers a chance to show that they support you and your work. The more positive feedback you get from others, the more likely you are to move forward successfully in your career.
Another thing you can get is a mentor. Some feel it’s an outdated concept. This is not true. Mentors are needed more than ever, especially for young minds. Young girls are the ones who are going to shape the professional world one day.
Mentoring can help shape where you go and it’s best to get a female mentor as well, one who has been through the same ropes as you. She has likely made the same mistakes as you and has gone through the same hardships.
If she has been there, she can then tell you which traps to avoid. This support can also find the right fit for you. It’s crucial not to settle on the first job opportunity unless you know for sure that it’s the ideal place for you.
Asking for help is not proof of failure or defeat. It just means that you are not alone and that there are others willing to support you.
4. If you’ve got it, flaunt it
Often the difference between a person who is successful and one who isn’t is the way they promote themselves. For women who have always been taught that modesty is a virtue, self-promotion doesn’t come easy.
Men flaunt their accomplishments all the time. Then why shouldn’t women? Unfortunately, many don’t want to come across as too arrogant. This might be a mistake on your part if this is what you are doing.
Sometimes not flaunting what you have achieved will lead to not being where you want to be. That does not mean you should be egotistical or obnoxious about it. There is a fine line. What you should do is embrace what you have achieved instead of keeping it a secret.
Take all you have accomplished with your first work experience and put it out there. In spite of what you may or may not have been taught before, numerous other employers will embrace this too. Just be truthful about what you have done and it will work for you.
Experts like Ronnie Ann Ryan suggest that perhaps it’s time to take a fresh look at bragging and ask if there is a difference between arrogance and self-promotion.
Keep this key fact in mind: Self-promoters get attention, get noticed by management, and get promoted. They also land new accounts, close big deals and obtain new clients.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How many opportunities am I missing because I’m unwilling to talk about myself and my accomplishments?
- If I don’t talk about myself and my achievements, who will?
- If I don’t share my enthusiasm for my accomplishments, how will others discover what I’m good at and enjoy?
Whether you like it or not, personal branding is a completely necessary activity, especially given today’s highly competitive business environment.
It boils down to this simple fact – self-promote or fade into the sea of those who don’t. If you’re starting to think there may be something to this, you can shift the way you think about bragging to make it more palatable.
Try this: Reframe the idea that self-promotion, when done well, is a fine art of sharing who you are to draw people in by telling a good story.
Understand the enormous benefits of stating more than just the facts. Personal stories create interest, while they illustrate your skills and accomplishments.
The key to this art is to carefully plan what you want to communicate, add human interest, emotion, and gestures, and practice until the whole thing sounds natural.
So much more is possible when you confidently tell people who you are and what you’re capable of in an entertaining and informative manner.
So get past these concerns and start building awareness of yourself among management or other business influencers to get the career recognition and compensation you deserve.
There are lots of reasons why women choose the path they do, and why they make these professional mistakes at work. If we can somehow pinpoint them for you early on, even during and after your first job, it will help you make a mark in your career and be confident in the knowledge that you have a bright future ahead of you.
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