National Service is meant to introduce you to the world of work. However it can be quite daunting if you have no idea where to start. Welcome to the life of a national service person, where you will become familiar with statements like “don’t worry with time you will know how to do it”, or “are you not a graduate? Why can’t you do that?”. You may also meet challenges like how to showcase your skills and abilities, especially when your job role does not correspond with what you studied in university.
To be fair, no one is expecting you to get it all figured out within a week. Nonetheless with these five tips you could easily reduce the amount of time you spend in the “HELP! I’m not sure what I’m doing” phase.
These tips are from employers and graduates who just completed their national service.
1 Know yourself
‘Who are you?’ is one question that sends our minds into a blank especially at interviews. Unfortunately it’s a question we are going to keep asking ourselves, or get asked in each new role or job. This is simply because different job roles require different skillsets we may or may not possess. As soon as you get wind of your posting, it is advisable to map your current skillset against what the job demands would be. This way, you are will see a clear picture of what you can do and what you can’t. With this picture, you will know how to highlight your strengths and work on your weaknesses while at post. If you really know yourself well, you come across to employers as someone who takes responsibility for their own development.
2 Ask Questions
Whatever you do, ask questions. Trust me, not only does it show that you want to learn; it also reflects your genuine interest in the organisation. Remember, an African proverb says a traveller who asks for directions never gets lost.
3 Treat it like an actual job
This is rather straightforward. If you want to be taken seriously by your employer, well then learn to take the organisation’s interests seriously too. Your salary may not be the same as that of other employees, but it still doesn’t change the fact that you are working in a real life environment. Your achievements and mistakes have a real impact on the organisation as a whole.
4 Keep a positive attitude
Some people are actually really good at their jobs, but have a tendency to poison the environment with their negativity. Please whatever you do, try not to be that person who ruins it for everyone. Yes we get it. Work gets difficult once in a while but so does life and we simply try to get on with it and make the best out of bad situations. Just apply this theory with a smile and you would be surprised how much your positivity alone could change the atmosphere in the workplace for the better.
5 Network Carefully
Naturally, you will socialize at work, but while at it, do not forget to network. Try as much as possible to forge quality networks with colleagues while doing your service. Even if they are not able to help you turn your service into a full time job, they may still come in handy developing your skills one way or the other.
Source: New Accra