Starting and Keeping Your Graduate Job
So, you’ve finally landed that dream graduate job? Congratulations! This should be the start of your journey to the top. However, you need to remember that just getting the job is not enough. In the first few months of any new job your employer will be watching you closely to see how you are progressing and fitting in to the company. That’s not to say you should be worried – most companies are very keen to make sure that their new recruits do well and stay with them for many years. Here are a few tips to help you make sure that happens, rather than end up living off those 0 credit cards!
The First Day
This is your big chance to make a real impression. You may be working with the same people who interviewed you, but if your job is in a large company, you may not be. So that good impression you made on interview day, needs to be made all over again. Make sure that you dress well – unless you’re working in a creative sector job, a smart suit is essential on the first day. If you find that most people in the office are dressed more casually than that, you can adjust your outfit on the second day. Generally though, there is no such thing as looking too smart. Also ensure that you get in on time, or ideally five to ten minutes early. That will give you time to compose yourself and get ready to meet your new colleagues.
You’ll probably spend much of your time on the first day meeting people and being given information to read about what will be expected of you in the course of the job. There will probably be quite a lot to take in, but try not to glaze over: look interested and sharp. Make notes or ask for information to take away when appropriate – you can then get to grips with it in your own time. Be friendly to everyone you meet, whether they are a senior manager or a security guard: getting on well with your colleagues socially is often an important part of doing well in a new job. Ask a few colleagues if they’d like to go out for lunch – your first day is not a time for eating at your desk, but for socialising.
The First Weeks and Months
After you’ve got the first day over and your head has stopped spinning, it’s time to get your head down and really show what you can do. Most big companies will have a thorough induction programme, especially if they take on new graduates. This should include an introduction to the work you’ll be doing and to the company in general, including things like health and safety and where to get IT support. If you’re in a smaller firm, there may not be a formal process, but all these things should still be covered in detail. If they aren’t, then ask.
Make sure you ask plenty of questions and try and absorb as much information as possible during your first few months. This is the period during which it’s OK not to everything. Your colleagues will expect you to be unsure of some things, so use this to your advantage. In a six months time, you’ll be the one others are asking questions of, and you’ll be expected to know.
Also use this time to network as much as possible. Every time you go to a meeting or are introduced to a new person, make an effort to find out a little bit about them and what they do, and let them know who you are too. Business cards can be a very useful way to do this. Also try and network outside the office – people often relax more in a social situation, and if you get to know them socially, they’ll be more likely to work well with you.
Above all, do your job well. It sounds obvious, but it can be difficult going from an educational environment where you are given very clear goals, to having to manage your own workload and get ahead with little outside help. Always meet deadlines, proofread reports and important emails before you send them, and make sure you have a clear idea of what your boss expects of you. Remember, your company wants you to succeed, and they’ll help you do so if you show that you’re willing.
Starting and Keeping Your Graduate Job