Calling all graduates! You may be filled with the utmost relief that all those gruelling years of university are over. No more essays. No more presentations. Of course, no more tedious group projects. However, as much as you may not want to read this right now, the real work begins. The world is going to be a completely different place now you are not a student anymore. You may have a confusing sensation of being lost like you are filling a void but for what? Once you begin your career, that will all change.
However, this begs the question ‘what do I do once I have a job?’ Well, I have a few tips here that may be useful to you.
Keep up appearances – For your interview, you will (hopefully) have pulled out all the stops to make yourself look suitable and as employable as you could. Do not assume that now you have the job you can stop making an effort. You will want to keep up your appearance and make yourself look presentable, this is a real job. Some places may give you a uniform or will tell you the dress code when you have your interview. However, if the employer has not said anything, look what people are wearing when you’re in the building. What kind of shoes are they wearing? What colours are they wearing? Once you have an idea of what is appropriate to wear, get yourself down to Primark and spend! It is important to show your employers that you are serious about your role and you understand professionalism within the workplace.
Listen – It is going to be difficult adjusting to a new job, new place and new people, so listen to the advice people will give you. It is understandable you may not want to look like a nervous lamb surrounded by wolves, but one of the worst things you can do is walk in there with an ego and crack on like you know what you are doing. That just spells first-day embarrassment and disaster. While employers admire confidence, use that skill to ask questions and get to know your tasks thoroughly. Not only will the boss/manager give you advice, those working within the same field as you may also be kind enough to tell you a few tips and tricks for the job. The more you listen and absorb, the more quickly you will adapt and become familiar with your surroundings.
Observe – If you are a little shy and feel uncomfortable with asking questions to your co-workers, observe what they are doing throughout the day. Who do they go to when they have a certain problem? What do they say when they answer the phone to a client/business partner? How quickly do they do their tasks? People will work at different rates and have different tasks but as long as you can produce a rough average of the things you should be doing then that is fine. If co-workers notice you are watching them then they may give you some pointers or ask you some questions about what you would like to know.
Make friends – Many people have the ‘I’m here to work, not make friends’ mentality, which is not a wrong perspective to have. However, you are going to be nervous, you are going to need help and you want to enjoy your time there. Have an attitude? Drop it. There are people in that workplace that have been a lot longer than you and know how things should be done, you will need that kind of help. You also do not want to feel completely alone while you are there. Whilst it may seem you are only making friendly conversations with co-workers, you are unknowingly strengthening your communication skills. This can help with any networking that you may need to do as part of the job. So when you move on to your next job, you may find it easier to open to your new co-workers or any connections you want to make within your field.
No distractions – It is not exactly school where you may get your phone taken from you if you are seen using it or it has to be banished to the bottom of your bag for the full day. However, that is a good mentality to have when it comes to your job. It is understandable for everyone that checking your phone every now and then has become an unbreakable habit, you want to be up-to-date with everything. Make sure to get any urges out the way before you start your shift, then check again during your break, once you have finished your shift you can use it again. It may seem so minor and simple but, again, it highlights your professionalism and dedication to getting work done.
Eat plenty of food – Everyone can agree that there is nothing more humiliating than being in a quiet room and your stomach starts making whale noises. As annoying as the phrase ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ is, it is a vital life lesson. With food, you are going to concentrate better and you will have all the energy to get through the day and stay awake! Your body may be moving around a lot more than it is used to, especially if you’re running errands for people, so you will need food to fuel your body.
Don’t forget to smile – You are the new person in the office, so you are bound to have a lot of stares during your first few days. While you may be used to giving people the ‘what are you looking at?’ glare or a threatening nod, these are people you may be working with for a long time. What I am about to say may be common sense but smiling at your co-workers sets the perfect first impression. Even better, when you make eye contact with someone introduce yourself. This is also key if you are going to be contacting people via the phone or online meetings, smiling makes your voice sound friendly. Let’s not forget that smiling helps us feel happier by releasing feel-good chemicals in the body, so you can turn that bad first day into a happier one.
Or names… – Similarly to making friends and smiling, remembering people’s names is very important. Firstly, you may be asked to speak to this person, that person and ‘them over there’. You will want to perform tasks efficiently and forgetting who you need to take some work to is not going to help you at all. Also, addressing people using their names will show you have made the effort to know who they are, and it shows that you respect and value them. There is no better way to begin your job than making an amazing first impression by remembering people’s names, being nice and making friends.
Have a morning routine – Since you have not been able to attend university for the past year, you may have gotten used to having a lay-in. However, once you start your job you are going to have to be up early in the morning, especially if you have to travel quite a way in. A few weeks, or a few days, before you are about to start create a morning routine and stick to it. This may seem difficult at first but it will be a massive help further down the line as you will be used to getting up early and getting ready for work in time. Similarly, establish an evening routine so your evening does not feel rushed and you have time to do the things you want to. Also, most importantly, a routine will help you make sure you are getting a healthy amount of sleep.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone – It is no secret that everyone includes the word ‘confidence’ on their CV to make themselves seem more employable. While this may be quite daunting, especially if you are introverted, you will have to get used to it as your boss is going to ask you tasks that will make you breach your comfort zone. You will thank yourself for doing this, as once you find yourself comfortable outside your zone, you can develop your job skills further.