This blog is mostly for students making the transition from student life to the corporate world. As a student, even as you start focussing on getting placed in an organization in your pre-final or final year, it would help you to have an understanding of the corporate world. It is also for those who have already made the move but wouldn’t mind inspecting certain aspects again. So today, I will share with you a few inputs that will help you start your corporate life – smoothly.
You are sure to take a lot more care of your dressing and grooming when you go to office than you do in college. This is the part that everybody is aware of. Please watch the videos on grooming for men and women on the SkillActz channel. Remember there is something to be said for impressions. How you come cross to the people around you, goes a long way in bonding and blending into the workplace.
Let us look at 3 or 4 areas where the change has to be attitudinal or internal.
The 1st area is Time Management.
As a student, you have a lot of flexibility in stretching and tweaking your schedules to suit your convenience. If the day-time is not enough to complete a task, then there is always the evening or night time. If you have not completed an assignment, surely there is a good friend who is ready to help. But this is not the case in the corporate world.
Flexibility is much less, tasks have to be completed within limited time-frames of office hours. Demands on your time may come from more than one source. For example, you may need to complete a presentation in 3 hours during which a team meeting may be called using up 30-45 mins and you may need to accompany a colleague on a visit to a client. Not to mention phone interruptions or even colleagues dropping by to chit chat.
Learn to prioritise the important and urgent. It’s a good habit to plan your day ahead and have a ‘To do’ list. With practice you will get better and be able to stay on track.
You therefore need to start appreciating the value of time and to remember that very soon time will be at a premium. See it as a limited resource – like your monthly pocket money as a student – use it wisely, otherwise it can cause you a lot of stress.
Teamwork & Interpersonal skills:
Another area to work on is teamwork and interpersonal skills. Let’s both together as the two are intertwined and related.
You may believe that you already know how to work in a team, but unlike in college, at the workplace you do not choose your team members.
During interviews, it is common for students to list their strength as being a good team player or having good interpersonal skills. Students who have done some voluntary work or worked interned in organisations, will have had some experience. At college you are usually a part of a group of your choosing and with friends you can get away with a lot. Many of you may therefore not have had many opportunities to sharpen this skill during college. Academic life is largely based on individual performance and marks. There is unfortunately no grading or marking for team work. Whereas at a work place your entire work experience is impacted by how good your team skills are.
You can say it quite a bit like moving from an individual sport like badminton or tennis to a team sport like football or basketball.
Being pleasant towards others, more accommodating, more co-operative, understanding and appreciating individual differences, are absolutely essential. In today’s geographically dispersed workplace you need to be aware and sensitive to cultures and customs. Learn more about this and follow company norms to ensure you don’t take a misstep. Developing this skill is essential to your being able to navigate without causing distress to yourself and others.
If you can work with people with different backgrounds, mannerisms and personal traits, you will enjoy your work life better. And your chances of career growth are more since leadership roles require strong people skills.
So, start practicing this skill right away. Learn to accept others as they are and focus on outcomes than the person.
The 3rd area where campus is different from corporate is in the formal nature of communication.
You need to improve your business communication skills that include – email and letter writing, presentation skills, verbal and nonverbal communication, report writing, digital communication etc.
You can begin with watching TV shows that are on business subjects. Observe the anchors and the speakers. You can learn a lot about styles of speaking, use of gestures, facial expressions, postures etc from observing others. In formal communication people are a lot more alert and careful. That’s the no 1 thing to incorporate. The moment you become more aware and alert about how you are coming across, you will start picking up tips and incorporating them into your individual style.
The three skills discussed here are the ones you must improve to build your brand as you move from college to the workplace.
In another blog we’ll discuss other aspects you can focus on to make your transition from college to corporates easy and smooth.
You can watch videos on SkillActz on the same topic and others topics too to prepare and stay ahead. Good luck!