5 reasons your first job is important

January 7, 2019

When I first turned 16, I couldn't wait to start working. I was so excited for my first job. It was like my first step into independence. As I entered my second job, which I landed thanks to God, I felt more prepared. I never realized how much I truly learned until that very moment. My first job taught me:

Communication skills

Working in fast food jobs, I quickly learned all about the ins and outs of customer service. It's deeper than just making customers happy. You figure out how to interact with a variety of people and adjust your work style accordingly, and how to solve problems even with difficult customers. As I've gotten more jobs over the years, I've realized about 90 percent of all types of jobs require some sort of customer service so it's a great skill to have. Communicating with customers is one thing, but I also learned how to talk effectively to superiors. It can be intimidating at first to approach your boss or manager with things, but remember they're just people too.

Responsibility

If you're anything like me, you just want a first job for extra spending money. But take a moment to pat yourself on the back for making the time commitment of working and building experience on your Resume. You should be proud of yourself, especially if you're a student. I've worked hourly jobs in both high school and college. It can be tough to find that work/school balance and still attempt to have a social life. Keep your priorities in order and evaluate what is most important to you.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Similar to communication skills, teamwork skills will impress employers and can apply to any job you'll ever have. Working with different personality types towards a common goal can be difficult, but it's crucial and extremely valuable. Also, forming strong relationships with your co workers will pay off if you ever need to ask for help, not to mention you'll look forward to coming in to work.

Mistakes are normal

I went into my first job trying to be the perfect employee and the best at everything. While it's an awesome goal to have, it just wasn't realistic. I had to realize that it's impossible to know everything, and nobody wants to work with a know-it-all anyway. In the wise words of Hannah Montana, everybody makes mistakes. Learn from them, take in any constructive criticism and know how to recover from your mistakes at work to keep moving forward.

Make the best of boredom

Once I started working, I thought it would be like a revolving door of customers. I never thought about the slow, down time I might have. Instead of standing around, use that time as an opportunity to show initiative. Look for things that need to be done like tidying up or prepping things for the next rush. You'll definitely stand out to your boss as a top notch employee and they'll appreciate your hard work.

If you're searching for your first job or already working, keep an open mind and soak up as much information as you can. You never know how valuable those lessons or skills will be in your future career.