Making the Most out of your First Job As a distance education student, you would be keen on leveraging the flexibility of this mode of learning. Providing ample scope to enter into the job-industry, distance learning programs deliver the competitive edge, by helping you learn skills and enabling you to gain work exposure at the same time. Why is work-exposure essential? The job-industry is growing increasingly competitive. Each employer is focused on picking out the best from the vast talent pool of candidates, who will immensely contribute to the making of a business into a brand. The ones, who are left out in the hunt, miss it only by a whisker. In addition, employers seek candidates who are job-ready not only in terms of domain-skills but also other attributes, which make a candidate the “experienced” one, to help them cut down on the initial investments of training. Some of the other attributes encapsulate: work-environment friendliness, communication skills, people-skills, team-skills, adaptive capabilities and professional behaviour. Experience in a work environment, irrespective of whether your technical-skills are honed in the relevant area of your studies or not, exposes you to other facets of learning, critical to survive in the job-industry. With the distance mode of learning helping you to balance different goals, the one small step towards the job-industry, can make a giant leap for a rewarding career. Remember that the first job you land may not be your dream job but will be one of the stepping stones to reach your dream career destination. Making yourself job-ready Your first job is the primary avenue of learning about the job-industry, the prevalent work- ethos and the level of competition. It is through your first-job that you build an interface with the professional world and learn the ropes of being “on-job”. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your first job: 1. Brush aside the “I know everything” notion: Most freshers are not willing to accept that they lack experience in handling a particular job. When confronted with a task or a challenge, they are more than eager to prove themselves. This is the biggest hurdle to open-minded learning. When you are given the lead to take on a fresh role, be open-minded to suggestions from your seniors and at the same time open up with all your doubts and question. 2. Don’t push yourself beyond limits: Being your first (maiden venture) job will mean loads of excitement, innumerable avenues of learning and plenty of opportunities to perform. But that doesn’t mean that you exhaust yourself to the extent of experiencing a burnout. Remember that your performance is not rated by the day’s output but sustainable productivity levels, even in the worst possible times. So, conserve your resources and use them with prudence. 3. Build your social network: Never be the “alone” entity at your workplace. Ensure that you don’t miss out the opportunity of building an interface with your co-workers either during lunch or coffee breaks. The initiatives you show towards building an interface will help break the ice and remove all mental blocks from either side- to help them teach you and make you receptive to learning. It is equally important to keep in mind that every co-worker from the front-office staff to higher-up, will have something to give you as a pearl of wisdom. 4. “Service with a smile”: In the raging competitive scenario, we are more often preoccupied with the “How to get the better of my colleague attitude?”. Climbing up the ladder is the primary focus, pushing aside the “service” tendencies, which is vital to keep the social bonding in the workplace. Put your best foot forward, when it comes to helping out colleagues. Be proactive in figuring out innovating ways to serve your clients/customers. This way, you will be able to win the respect of seniors and co-workers, busting the myth of being a “ruthless competitor”. 5. Work hard and show discipline: What can create the best impression on your employer, are consistence, dedication, punctuality and perseverance. These qualities when part of the foundation you build up from your first job, will give you the stability and sustainability in the longer run. The above pointers help you derive the best out of your first job – the primary window of opportunity, led by your distance education channel, to emerge job-ready, for the subsequent milestones you desire to achieve in your career.