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How to use your first job to get the one you want!

Don’t settle for your first job, learn from it.

The first thing on the list of things to do once you’ve graduated is "get a job".

Everyone has an idea of exactly what they would like to do, but until that dream position becomes available, you’re going to need to bring in the pennies.

According to the Hcesu report What Do Graduates Do 2015, over 12% of graduates from 2014 working in the UK are working in retail.

While this may be the choice for some, it’s not what you imagined when you started your degree. We bet the 25.4% of people who graduated with a Fine Arts degree wanted to be doing something art related rather than working at a bar or on a shop floor.

While your first job may not be what you want, you can still learn a lot from it.

1. Get some experience

It goes without saying that experience is a huge part of getting the job you want.

Even if the job you want is nothing to do with the job you’ve got, there are aspects of jobs that cross over, such as communication or customer skills.

Think about what skills you can transfer from your current job to the one you’re really after.

2. Develop your soft skills

Soft skills are highly prized but rare in graduates.

Interpersonal skills are key within the workplace. The more you can hone your emotional intelligence, the more attractive you will be to a potential employer.

Take a look at our soft skills article for a few helpful hints.

3. Get into the workplace spirit

Jumping straight into a corporate role after being a student is hard work for the best of us. For your dream job, you need to be on point technically

Use this first job to learn the best way to interact with co-workers, handle work-related stresses and

All of the skills you use to adjust can be added to your CV to make yourself more inviting to your dream employer.

4. Get to know yourself

When working, no matter the job, you’ll start to get a feel for your strengths and weaknesses.

Take a note of what you find easier (working as a team, prioritising tasks) and be sure to pop it on your CV.

The things you struggle with are just as useful. Use this job to start to fix the issues that you can find, such as timekeeping or organisational skills.

5. Keep a note of all your achievements!

Now you’re a part of the working world, you’re going to start accumulating achievements.

Start a portfolio of the things that you do well – that way, when you get an interview you’ve already prepared material that will help you.

Something as simple as creating a quicker way of putting out stock can show a prospective employer that you’re a lateral thinker.

If you keep these things in mind, your first job could pave the way to the job of your dreams.

Good luck!