I still remember my first day at my first graduate job and all the nerves that built up the days before I started. Fretting over whether I would be successful, would my new manager like me and could I do the work they were going to set for me. Leaving university and starting your first job can be a daunting experience and people can be nervous about what awaits them and how they will get on in their new careers.
It is a milestone for all graduates but it is not as scary as you may think and as with most things in life it is all about your attitude and the way you approach it. Here are some hints and tips on making the most of this new exciting chapter in your life.
First impressions do count, so you want to set yourself up for success and be prepared. Find out the details like the company dress expectations, paperwork e.g. bank details, who do you report to. Employers do not expect you to guess things like this so if you are unsure about any of these details then call up and ask.
Start as you mean to go on: demonstrate the right attitudes and behaviours from day one. This does not mean you have to have all the answers or hit the ground running but what employers do want to see is that you are ready to learn and ready to perform, so be early for meetings, be early for deadlines, approach all work delegated with a ‘yes’ mentality and participate in meetings.
Be open, approachable: get to know as many people as possible, as the more people you meet the more you will learn about your new organisation. Every time you see a new employee go over and introduce yourself, ask questions about their role and what they like about working for the organisation. Networking is important.
Do you find problems or solutions? Companies hire graduates for many reasons but one thing most employers want are employees that offer solutions and ideas to solve problems rather than just pointing out what is going wrong and what the problems are. The chances are that managers are aware of these, so only pointing out problems can quickly be perceived as a negative attitude.
Be positive: Starting a new career is difficult and there will be many challenges along the way. No one has ever reached the top of their profession without experiencing a few failures. When you have days or weeks like these you have to try and keep a sense of perspective and remember what your long term career goals are. What is important is that you maintain that positive attitude and overcome any adversity with a smile on your face.
Build your personal brand: work out what you want to be known for in the workplace and make sure your actions and performance reflect this. Reflection and self-awareness is an important business skill so make sure your actions reflect the brand you want.
Finally, it is important to enjoy and embrace your new opportunity, but in the first few months try and keep the partying and late nights to the weekends and not on school nights.