A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. The first steps are often jittery and confusing for most of us, especially the freshers. I was in the said situation a year ago, when I landed my first ever job as a Management Trainee for a Relationship Manager role for the retail liabilities division in a Private sector bank. To give you a brief, a relationship manager is usually assigned a list of High Net-worth Individuals (HNIs) whose banking related service needs need to be taken care of, as well as increasing their wallet share in the bank, by way of cross-selling or referrals. Hence it does involve a fair deal of sales, communication skills and people management.
I have highlighted some of the pointers to keep in mind for the class of 2020, that I picked up with experience over the past six months:
Get your product info kit handy: It's a good idea to source and keep copies of all types of product details, description, rates etc. both in the physical format as well as the digital format. This process will take time, but eventually, you'll realise how it builds your confidence when you use it as backup for your own sales pitch, but also give you better results when the client has something to keep and refer to, before and after making his purchase decision.
Try to identify a few people whom you can trust professionally: Let's be clear that you're not looking for friends in your workplace. You're looking for people who would not think of purely their own self-interest about 80% of the time and give you a leg up on a few occasions. A good place to look would be the people in allied departments and if you're lucky you'll find a mentor figure who wouldn't mind you asking them a dozen basic questions, but you will have to be considerate with their time. Don't be let down by the few let downs everyone faces at the beginning of their career till you get the sense of judgement.
Finish up any work-related certifications early on: The most focussed you can be on certifications would be in your initial few months, so don't procrastinate it. Some regulated industries or roles require you to complete them and it's also a measure of your knowledge curve steepening.
Try to have your investments sorted out well in advance: Most of us would be on a student loan and would be paying rent to indicate under the HRA section, so it does take care of a substantial portion of your income tax planning, however, there would still be a certain amount left under section 80 C to fulfil the 1.5 lakh criteria, and it must be utilised to its fullest. The decision of where to invest the remaining money must be thought out and planned in advance to avoid any unnecessary fumbling and last-minute investment which would only result in a cash crunch. For this I suggest reading up online and speaking to friends with experience in the same, since you and most of your batch will likely be paying income tax for the first time.
Maintain a rough diary of contacts: For each aligned product or service in your line of business, it would be prudent to maintain two contact persons that you can call (and who would be willing to respond reasonably) when you hit a roadblock, and you can save face in front of a client. It's an important skill to pick up particularly for the long run because people keep moving around.
The work shift perspective: It's not uncommon for people starting out in their jobs to stretch their working hours to make a point about the extent of their dedication to the company. Somewhere down the line, we tend to get derailed regarding how much of a stretch is permissible in our job. Regardless of rare cases where seasonality comes into the picture, I believe we set the standard about what is assumed about our ability to stretch our work hours. It comes down to who we confront and the way we choose to communicate it.
The wall between personal and professional life: Bad days are a part of everyone's career, and the mistake most of us freshers make, is letting our professional lives spill into our personal lives. It takes conscious effort and repetitive affirmations of our identity outside work to put an end to that. We've got to remember that we have a life outside work, and that our loved ones deserve the best of us.
The first six months are no doubt testing times, but it teaches you to grow and be patient like few things before would have. Making switches from your first job is becoming increasingly common, but I would suggest sensible evaluation which does not involve unjust peer comparison to lead your way.