21 November 2008

Are You Ready For Your First Day At Work?

First, congratulations to you! You have been accepted to work in an organization! This is good news. However, this good news comes with another question: “What will my first day at work like?” A typical question many fresh graduates would ask.

Actually, there are many possibilities. It all depends on the personality and attitude you possess!

Some of you will encounter an interesting day. You will find your new co-workers welcome you warmly. They are happy to update you on your duties.

On the other hand, you may encounter a sad, boring day. You may have very few or no co-workers at all. You will need to work alone as your superior is not around most of the time. You have nobody to talk to or update you on the latest tasks.

Do not panic. Here are some simple advises for you. Let us start from the day you receive news of your new offer.

Check the location of your new office

Check and double check if the address of your new office is the same as the interview location. Sometimes, your office will be located somewhere else in the city or town. Go and find out days before you are supposed to report yourself.

Verify with the person-in-charge of the where about of your new office if you are not sure. The organization has a department named ‘Human Resource Department’; so get help from the people there.

Moving to a new town

If the job is in another town or city, you may need to move there. Moving to another town is not a popular choice for many. However, during this economic downturn, you cannot afford to be choosy.

Check the new town out. Use your network, or ask help from your friends and relatives to gather information about the new town. Find out more about the rents and residential areas, even the cost of living in that place.

Get a place to stay

Since you are in the new town, check out for any place to rent. If the rent is low, rent the whole house or flat or apartment. You can always share it later with someone else. You do not have to furnish it but at least a room with a bed is required.

Go around the town

It is now time for you to drive around the town. If you are not driving, then find out about the local public transport. You need to be sure where you want to go. Check the route to your office again. Find a few routes so that you may reach your office in the shortest time.

Dress up neatly

Dress formally for your first day to work. Any formal color will do – grey, black or white, brown, etc. However, remember not to mismatch your outfit with your shoes or accessories.

Make sure your clothes are properly ironed. Get some clothes hangers so that you do not crease your clothes after ironing.

Ladies, high heels are not necessary if you live too far and have to take the public transport to work. Any pair of shoes that matches your attire will do. No sandals or slippers, please.

Leave home earlier

Whether you are driving or taking a local public transport, leave your house half an hour earlier. You may not know what the condition of the roads is like. If it is raining, get out an hour earlier.

Take the correct route to work

This is important so that you would not be late on your first day. Even if you know many routes, the shortest is the one you should choose.

Smile to everyone

Greet everyone you meet with a sincere and friendly smile. The best way into everyone’s heart is the first impression they have on you. Do not think that just because you are in a higher position, you can be proud. How much you sow, you will reap as much!

Always be ready to shake hands

Even though you are not into this habit, it is a modern culture you cannot avoid. Do not give limb handshakes. That shows you are disinterested in the person. Give warm, firm handshakes all the time.

Be courteous

Always be gracious to others. You may not like them; however, you cannot avoid working with them. Being respectful can avoid a lot of problems. You can steer clear from a lot of troubles if you just show others that you sincerely respect them. It is that easy!

Do what you are asked

On your first day or maybe the next few days, you will be asked to do many things. If you are just an ordinary executive, you cannot avoid or refuse the tasks. Accept the tasks and complete them.

No complains. Remember others are watching you.

If you are in a position to make requests, do so politely. Nobody likes a boss who barks and yells. Do not be the first unpopular newcomer in the block!

Do not ask too many questions

Rule number one at the work place; do not ask too many questions on the first day. You have a few years to do so. Nobody will be able to supply the answers to your questions. Ask a few important ones. Leave the gossips out.

Remember not to inquire about rumors and secrets you have heard elsewhere. You will not want to be considered as a busybody on the very first day!

Have lunch with new colleagues

Regardless of the advice you received about having lunch with your new colleagues, it is all right to accept lunch invitations. Just remind them that you can only pay for yourself. They will understand.

Going for lunch together will enhance your social relationship with them. If you are the type that skips lunch, then you have better had a good excuse. Be consistent and do not have lunch alone secretly!

Complete your work

Complete all the work assigned to you on the first day. Do them carefully and attentively. Do not make serious errors that will allow your superior to criticize you. If you are not sure how to do the work, ask for help. Your colleagues will be glad to help you if you ask politely.

Do not leave any work undone. Check for the deadlines every now and then.

Do not leave immediately

Do not leave immediately after working hours. Remember, you are being scrutinized. Leave a little later, maybe half an hour or so. Take the time to read some of the company notices posted on the public board.

Some colleagues may choose to stay back for a while. Take this opportunity to get to know them. After office hours, most people do not mind chatting about their private lives.

There you go; you have successfully completed your first day at work! Take things easy if your first day is not as smooth as you want. There will be second, third and many more days for you!

Be humble and adopt a ‘willing to learn attitude’ to help you go through your working days smoothly. Even when you change jobs after that, you still need to take the simple advices above again.

Finally, have nice ‘working days’ ahead!


10 November 2008

Know Your Prospective Employers before Applying for the Job

When you apply to work in a certain organization, you may need to know more about your prospective employer. Do not think this as a small matter. Getting to know your prospective employers is like getting to know yourself. It is never a wasted effort.

Your effort to do some research allows the interviewer know how serious you are with the opportunity. It also reflects your sincerity in working with the particular organization.

Most employers think that if the candidates would spend time and effort to prepare for the interview, it is likely that they will put in the same time and effort into the job. That is why doing a little research in your part goes a long way. Employers will feel pleased that they have a good standing in the industry and community when you are able to relate to them some of the good things you have heard about them.

You should be clear why you do the research:

- to convince your boss that you are the right person for their job;

- to gather more information on types of jobs and industries that interested you;

- to discover other options to help you make decisions about where, when and whom you would like to work;

- to discover who at these organizations has the authority to employ you, and to find out who your prospective employers are.

Be focus when you are looking for a job. Any job is not good enough. Be very specific with what industry, company and position you know is right for you. Finding the right job means you have the competitive edge over other interviewees.

Here is a short list of specific researches for you to consider:

- What exactly does the organization make, sell or provide for it customers?

- What is the size of the organization – big or small?

- The internal structure of the organization – how many departments, what is most senior post of each department, other positions related, some job functions of the positions that interested you, etc?

- Is it a family-owned, private or publicly held organization?

- What is the financial state of the organization?

- What is the reputation of the organization in the industry and community?

- Have there been any changes in ownership or management recently?

- Are there branches of the organization in the country or overseas?

- Are there women and members of other ethnic groups in high level management positions?

- Does the organization promote from within or sourcing candidates from outside?

- Has the organization been entangled in any legal matter?

- What is the corporate culture and style of the organization – modern or conservative?

Some of the questions or information may be provided only by people who are working the organization itself. Get your network to find out who is working with the organization. The more you find out about it, the better are your chances at making a good impression with the interviewers.

However, do not feel over-confidence with your new-found knowledge. Prospective employers may not like candidates who know too much about their organizations. You just need to know what you should know.

If you heard rumors about the organization, do not repeat them during the interview. The most unwise move is to relate everything you know to the prospective employers. They are the ones who will disqualify you immediately.

A job may not be a career. A career is a vocation that provides satisfaction, fulfills long term goals as well as offering a bright future. So, you need to be clear when you hunt around for your ‘perfect’ opportunity. You may waste some time and effort, but it is always worth it.

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