In 2014 then Telstra boss David Thodey offered young job seekers some salient advice. He noted the path to a perfect job was about creating job opportunities in the employment you have.
“Young people can’t just sit there and just wait for the perfect job to arrive,” the high-flying businessman told News Corp. “I still don’t know what the perfect job is. It is about going and out and working, as this will open doors and opportunities.”
So how do you transform the job you have into the career you dream of? Here are five tips for opening a world of doors and creating job opportunities using the role you already play.
Few first jobs are the ultimate employment that people dream of, but what they do offer is the chance to hone skills, and create a stepping stone. That means committing to the role you are offered, knowing the reward will get you a step closer to the job you desire. The key items you want in your reference for next time are that you were diligent, turned up on time, and offered not only reliability but enthusiasm.
It’s all about your attitude; to get the job done and do it well, finding the solutions not the problems in your position.
The truth is many a successful person started their working life in menial jobs. David Thodey, mentioned above, drove a tractor on a pea farm, league legend Wally Lewis sliced meat for a living at a deli he co-owned with his mother, and former PM Tony Abbott pulled beers and worked as a labourer.
The lesson is that hard work pays, and commitment opens doors.
While we’re talking lessons, every role offers the opportunity to learn. Often skills picked up on the job front transfer across industries, so seize the chance to learn and grow. Customer service is the same no matter the application, working as a team member translates throughout the corporate realm, and displaying initiative is a prized asset for any employer.
Not only that, but young employees should jump at the chance to learn new skills on the job. If your employer offers training, mentoring or promotions, take them and use them to get some more employment attributes under your belt.
Do the time
So you’ve committed to the job and are seizing opportunities, now the best thing to do is reward your employer with the time they deserve to pay back that investment. That doesn’t mean staying in the same place for years, but it does involve a little loyalty.
And doing some hard time is in your interests too. Jumping from job to job within months never looks good on a résumé so be prepared to stick to a position for a decent period.
You might be learning on the job, but employment also provides the further opportunity to expand your skill range elsewhere. Plenty of people study while working, whether it’s TAFE, uni or high school, so if your future is likely to lie elsewhere this is the chance to earn a living while studying and gaining the skills to pursue your real passion.
Find the passion
On the passionate note, the real joy in working lies in finding a job you love, but not all of us have a wish-list to follow the moment the high school doors close behind us.
Use your first job to find within it areas that interest you. You might discover a real passion for team building that signals the beginning of a career in people management, or the financial aspect of your first job might pique your interest in pursuing numbers.
The final word
Wherever your future lies, your first job is the beginning of a life-long employment adventure that’s yours and only yours to enjoy. To take the first step to meaningful employment, the Father James Grant Foundation offers four-week training and mentoring programs designed to deliver life and workplace skills.
You can learn more about us and our Mission Engage program here.