10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting My First Graduate Job
After a gruelling job hunt, finally, employment beckons! Here are some things I wish I’d known before starting my first graduate job that will hopefully help you through the first few weeks of your own.
1. Don’t delay in introducing yourself to everyone.
Even if you’re a bit socially awkward, not much can go wrong with “Hi, my name is…” Just go and have a natter with people in the kitchen. It’s better to be awkward when you’re new and people will know you’re nervous than leave it until you’ve been there for two months.
2. And apply a bit of your personality to the dress code.
Most places have general dress codes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself. There’s no need to dress like a clone in an office stock photo. As long as it’s within reason, the first few weeks are a good opportunity to find your style. Life’s too short to not wear your favourite colours and treasured patterned socks.
3. Be prepared to get used to a lot of bad jokes.
As long as they’re not at your expense, you’ll acclimatise. A raised eyebrow to a fellow team member and a straight face tells everyone that’s not your kind of humour. Of course if you think it’s hilarious, by all means laugh along.
4. And be honest if you make a mistake.
Mistakes happen, even when you’ve been working somewhere for a long time. Be up front about it, this way not only will you avoid repercussions further down the line but it helps your supervisor train you up and ensure you know what you’re doing from here on out.
5. Pick up the phone.
Businesses run on relationships and now you are part of one, you’ll need to hit the ground running. If you’re not calling the Big Bad Wolf, what could possibly go wrong?
6. And listen to any and all advice you’re given.
Listening to other people is sometimes the best way to learn, especially if you don’t know what to say. Once you’ve soaked up a few months worth of 9:15am meetings, you can wax lyrical on the monthly reports.
7. Get involved in any social events that take place.
Whatever your personality, the first few weeks in the world of work can be tiring, but push yourself to tag along. People are themselves and then some when they’re down the pub! As long as you’re on your best behaviour, a good time can help you make work mates quicker.
8. And if you’re making yourself a tea, offer to make one for others.
You don’t have to then become the office tea-maker; it’s just a nice gesture. If you’re lucky you’ll then get offers in return forevermore.
9. Don’t worry if you’re feeling out of your depth.
It’s completely normal. You’re new, and everyone knows that. Remember that all of your colleagues were once you – they too jumped in at the deep end and had to learn to swim. The more you keep at it, the more you’ll know. You’ll get there, I promise.
10. And don’t forget, they hired you for a reason.
Being the newbie is never easy, especially when it’s your first graduate job. But don’t do yourself a disservice by assuming that you’re not good enough just because in your first few weeks you’ve been struggling to adapt. You were hired because they believe in you. Rome wasn’t built in a day.