My First Job
Three Telfer Leaders Share Early Work Experiences
Director, Digital Transformation and Engagement, Telfer School of Management
Amanda is an outgoing person who harnesses that in her job by working collaboratively with others and learning from them. All her roles are people-oriented and that makes her thrive.
Q: What did you learn from your first job that you still apply at your workplace today
A: “I started my first job at Swiss Chalet working as a hostess, bartender, and server. I don’t want to discredit that because that was a wonderful experience. I don’t think students and those I work with see that these part-time jobs we have when we are in high school or university teach us many skills. But in fact, they are the ones that set the foundation for the skills you will need every day in your career. The skills I got from that were time management, sticking to a schedule, and managing priorities. Working with people developed my customer relationships skills and conflict management. All these things come from serving! I truly believe that my early days working with people have translated into everything that I have done.”
Director, Undergraduate Programs
Matt has a rich experience working closely with students, preparing them for their careers. He is well versed in the qualities that one needs for their first job.
Q: What do you believe are the most important qualities to have when starting your first job?
A: “The first quality that comes to mind is work ethic and taking initiative. That means having the desire to work hard and learn what it takes to be successful on the job. The second is communication skills. Whether you’re working with customers, colleagues, or your superiors, you should listen actively and take key points from the conversation, and then act accordingly. Listening actively helps develop a level of empathy where you seek first to understand and then be understood. The third one is teamwork and relationship development. Being a team player and knowing how to build relationships with teammates and clients are crucial qualities to have. The fourth and final is problem-solving. Where there is a challenge, you see the opportunity and find a solution for the betterment of the organization. You could develop this through previous volunteer or academic experiences.”
Dean Stéphane Brutus
Dean of the Telfer School of Management
As Dean, Stéphane offers academic and career leadership and support to students, equipping them for life after graduation.
Q: What advice would you give Telfer grads starting their first full-time job?
A: “People tend to learn and develop from experience. My advice to Telfer grads is to seize every opportunity and draw learning from your new job. Place yourself in situations that you are uncomfortable with and stretch your boundaries. Reflect, seek feedback, and improve. Put yourself out there and experience new things.”
Valuable lessons and skills can be extracted from first jobs. Sometimes, by exposing ourselves to new experiences, we discover career paths not worth pursuing – which is just as important as discovering the ones that are. For example, Dean Brutus worked on his aunt’s farm back in high school. He gained valuable skills such as teamwork and conflict-management abilities, but soon realized that physical work was not his forte. Not only did this experience give him a great appreciation for that line of work, but it also played a crucial role in crystallizing his career vision at a young age.
Members of the #telfernation, are there any qualities and skills you already possess or need to strengthen? By self-reflecting and identifying ways to develop these attributes, you will ensure you are ready for the job market. Volunteering, joining a club, and working part-time ─ every experience has value. And remember, if you need any career development advice, your friends at the Telfer Career Centre are there for you!