Surviving your first job

Career Advice
08 November 2021 | Career Advice | annie blinkhorn

How To Survive Your First Job


It's been a relatively stressful and uncertain time for everyone, specifically students in the UK due to the pandemic. ONS also provided a quick data highlight regarding the unemployment rate in 2020/2021, showing that there was a 0.6% increase in unemployment rates overall than before the pandemic, but a recovery seems to be on its way with a decrease of 0.3% in unemployment rates in the previous quarter of 2021.  

Despite the events in the last year and a half, congratulations if you managed to get yourself a job. Whether you’re still in university, or just finished whatever course you were taking, here's a few tips to make the most out of this opportunity...

Are you still looking for a career? Grad Jobs has a dedicated careers advice blog that may help you get the job you need! 


Understand your role before you start

This one should be a given, but you’d be surprised how many can simply “assume” a job role just by its title. Understanding your role in the time frame before you start is an essential survival tip for your first role as it allows you to provide some sense of convenience for employees that might train you. This can result in trust between you, your coworkers and anyone managing your team. 

Example: Let’s say that you are starting a catering job where you service events as a waiter/waitress. While the title “Catering Waiter/Waitress” may seem straightforward, the job description may also highlight other services such as cleaning maintenance, drink serving, and more that may have slipped your mind.  

Show some initiative by asking your employer, or whoever you have in contact with at your new workplace, for a rundown of what you can expect at your new job.

Get yourself acquainted with your coworkers as soon as possible 

Starting work can be nerve-wracking for most people, but your ability to communicate with your coworkers can determine how your next few months at work will be. It is always advisable to create a professional relationship with your coworkers as soon as you start. 

Example: You are currently being shown around an office for a new marketing job in a big company, and you’re now situated in a cubicle where you are surrounded by other office workers on that day. Simply introducing yourself, asking your coworkers questions about the job and other things that are appropriate for work, can set the tone of confidence for yourself towards other coworkers.


Know that it’s your FIRST job

Whether you just finished your degree or going straight to work after secondary school/sixth form, know that what you are working on now will be your very first job. This being your first job means that mistakes are bound to happen, and our third survival tip for this entry is to not be afraid of making mistakes in your first job, and to also not be afraid of any confrontation required in your new career. 

Example: You are working as a Retail Sales Associate in New Look and a customer comes over to you to complain. It’s your first time dealing with a difficult customer and you simply don’t know what to do. You apologise but the customer leaves angrily, creating a scene in the shop. It’s easy to take things personally when this happens, but it’s important to understand that there will always be customers that are simply having a hard day. 


Know what your company is all about 

If you are starting work for a company that holds their values high, then understanding the principles of a business or company will allow you to fit right in! Some additional tips for understanding what your company stands for is simply browsing through their website, asking your higher ups what the company is all about or even asking other employees will give you a good idea on the company’s big picture. 

Example: You got your first job working as a Financial Advisor at Natwest, and you were given a presentation about the company values and what they stand for. Eric, the presenter, emphasises that the company values team equality and friendliness over anything else. This is a perfect chance for you to demonstrate why you value the same thing, by offering a friendly impression towards everyone you see in the workplace! 

Don’t be late! 

This is another one that might be a given, but you’d be surprised how many newly employed hires simply take their time getting to work - with the assumption that because they have already got the job, they can relax knowing that they have what they wanted. 

This isn’t the ideal mindset, as turning up in time creates a better first impression as a current worker in the company or business. Turning up late simply delivers a sense of unprofessionalism that you do not want to give off on your first day. Do yourself a favor and come in early or come in on time!

Go out with your workmates 

A fun but often overlooked survival tip. Missing opportunities to go out with workmates can often leave you feeling left-behind by what happens during time off-work. While this can be harmless the first time, leaving yourself out of the business night outs can often damper your confidence with your workforce. 

There’s not much to this tip. If there is an opportunity for you to go out with your coworkers, just go for it! 

Article provided by Lafayette Photography, a graduation photography service making memories for graduates, with their family and friends on their special day.

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