Date posted: 04/01/2017

8 tips for your first job

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Moving on from university to working life is a big change. The hours, the pressures and expectations - the lifestyle and even the language are different. Here are 8 short tips to help you get to grips with your first job.

Finally, you've made it. Studying and job hunting are over and you've just landed your first job. Time to face your next challenge - getting ready for your first job.

Feeling at home

When you arrive, or soon after, you'll probably have something called an 'induction'. It's like an introductory tour of your new work. Someone will introduce you to people, show you around the office and fill you in on general organisational systems and processes. If you don't get a formal induction, don't try to work it all out for yourself, get to know how things are run and ask your colleagues.

Add a personal touch to your workspace if you can. Familiar photos or pictures, a plant, favourite pad and pens will help make you feel at home.

Look and learn

Learn everything you can about the company including the organisational culture. Is it OK to wear casual clothing, or is a more formal dress code expected? Are there set times for starting and leaving work? Watch what everyone else does, then see how you can fit in. If you're unsure, ask.

Read all the corporate emails that come through, ask lots of questions, and do lots of listening. Don't be afraid to questions. It'll show you are keen and interested.

Get feedback

Talk regularly with your managers and colleagues about your performance. Find out what you're doing well, and how you can improve.

Be professional

First impressions last, so be professional right from the beginning. For example, avoid things like making lots of personal phone calls or taking long lunch hours because you could come across as uncommitted. Be polite and pleasant to everyone, whatever their position.

Find a mentor

There's usually someone in every office who likes to 'mentor' people. The kind of person who is happy to check how you're doing and make time to explain things. You'll soon find them or they'll find you. Some organisations even have a formal mentor programme.

Be prepared to go the extra mile

Your first job will be demanding. You're learning how the organisation works on top of your actual work. You might end up needing to work harder or longer than you thought. Be willing and open to opportunities instead of complaining. It will impress colleagues and earn their respect.

Watch your budget

Earning a full time salary after being on a student budget sounds great but can easily lead to overspending. Be cautious in the first few months and see how it goes. Working full-time can be more expensive than you think. New clothes, coffees and lunches soon add up.

Enjoy it

Even though you'll be challenged in new ways, enjoy getting to grips with these challenges. Enjoy your new job. You've earned it.