How To Stand Out In Your First 3 Months On The Job

Written by Grace Ussenga, a Lapid Leader

Last week I shared the story of how I attended an interview for an internship position in an organisation that was not in line with my passion, and how my interviewers were so impressed by my passion to help society that they set me up for a different interview at KCCL. I will continue from there but you can read the previous post here

An interview with KCCL is set for January 7th, 2015 and I definitely show up looking intelligent and sophisticated (as you would expect haha). The interview took less than 5 minutes and I got a bit worried because I have always heard that the shorter the interview, the higher the probability that you were a total disappointment and a waste of time (It’s true by the way, only that my case was different). My CV spoke on my behalf.  I am told to go back on Monday, sign a contract and begin working, as an INTERN for 3 months, PRO BONO.

The fact that I wasn’t going be paid, did not worry me at all. My worry was that I was going to refuse to leave even after the 3 months are over. I had fallen in love with KCCL.

Throughout the 3 months, I worked like my life depended on it. I cleaned the floor, did the dishes, served tea and lunch etc. I did this not because I wanted to impress my supervisor, but because I was finally finding fulfillment in what I was doing.

3 months passed and like I had predicted, the organization had found me too useful, too efficient and too committed to let me go. I had become INDISPENSABLE!

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I remember my immediate supervisor telling me this just before my 3 months were over, “I know I am a perfectionist and I seldom encounter people like you whose job is neat and equally perfect.” Then she asks, “What are you planning on doing now that your time at KCCL is almost done?” To which I reply, “I’m planning on refusing to leave KCCL.” She laughs and says, “That’s what I wanted to hear” and right then I knew I had just got myself full-time employment even before I graduate from the university.

Today I am a full-time employee at KCCL working as an admin assistant, I walk into the offices of the initial interviewing company anytime I want, to sharpen my administrative skills and I have Lapid Leaders Africa to walk with me all the way (You can sign up for the upcoming Lapid Leaders Seminar here and you’ll have access to the mentorship).

KCCL is a parent-owned institution that provides programs specially designed to meet the needs of children with challenges such as Dyslexia, Dysphasia, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Communication Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorders (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Emotional Disorders, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and other Delayed Developmental Milestones.  I look forward to meeting these adorable children every morning at work.

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Here are 3 tips….

To those jobless graduates who are job hunting or those still in college / university but about to go on internship, do these three things if and when an opportunity like mine arises;

  1. Work DILIGENTLY – it does not matter whether you are getting paid or not. It doesn’t matter who is watching or who isn’t. It doesn’t matter who commends you and who doesn’t; just exercise diligence at ALL times.
  2. Show INITIATIVE – when it comes to initiative, there are really only four kinds of people: People who do the right thing without being told; People who do the right thing when told; People who do the right thing when told more than once; and People who never do the right thing no matter what.

            My advice to you is, by all means and at all times, fall in category (i) and you will go far.
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  1. Act the part; Act like a full-timer, show POSITIVE attitude – Show up with an eager, positive attitude each day. Dress at least one step above your current position. Take pride in each assignment you are assigned and ensure it’s your best work before handing it in and show appropriate level of confidence and competence.
  1. Strive to ADD VALUE – go above and beyond to solve problems and make decisions and be ready to take on work that is outside you comfort zone.

As an intern, you’ve got your foot in the door (you can read more on this here). That was the easy part. Now you have to work really hard to prove to whoever hired you that they made the right choice.  By landing an internship, you significantly increased your chances of being hired on full-time basis if you prove that you have what it takes. For the record, in this economy, that entails working your face off. Sometimes you have to welcome the boring, tedious, mundane assignments. That’s reality. Put your head down and get those done and it will speak volumes about your character and increase your chances of getting hire full-time. All the best in your job hunt!

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