So, you’ve recently graduated and are looking to take your first step on the career ladder, or for those of you lucky ones you’ve already secured a job and you’re still feeling like the newbie of the office. Yes, you finally no longer have to live on beans and it’s amazing, and yes, not having to even think about any form of work/essay-related issue during the weekend is even better, but that’s no excuse to let your Uni habits die hard. Here are the 8 things your university lecturers didn’t tell you about the world of work:
You will have to perfect your routine. As students, we are (or were) all guilty of sleeping in until 1pm then staying up until 3am trying to make up for sleeping in so late and feeling guilty. Yes, in Uni you could get away with sailing along with your workload or procrastinating because you would really prefer to be in bed watching Netflix (who wouldn’t?) Unfortunately, even if you are given free reign over your workload, this just won’t cut it anymore - It’s time to nail your routine! Ask yourself ‘what do I want to achieve today?’, then make an hour-by-hour day plan, starting with the most important tasks first. At the end of the day ask yourself ‘what have I achieved today?’ You’ll soon get the hang of what needs doing and by when.
Learn to manage upwards. Gone are the days when you are on a level playing field with all your peers but that doesn’t mean you can’t input new ideas or delegate tasks if you’re struggling with your workload. Although it may seem daunting now, suggesting any improvements or ideas will be appreciated by your colleagues. You may identify opportunities within the company even if it’s not your direct responsibility, don’t be afraid to speak up!
The first role you take may not be your life-long career. Nowadays, there can be so much pressure on graduates to secure an all-singing, all-dancing job straight out of university, most companies even advertise their roles a whole year before the proposed start date! With the dreaded ‘so what are you doing now you’ve left university?’ question looming, try not to feel a huge surge of unnecessary pressure. It wasn’t until the age of 50 that Colonel Sanders perfected his ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ recipe and it was only at the age of 62, that he franchised ‘KFC’ for the first time and then eventually went on to sell his business for $2 million. Up until then he had been fired from multiple jobs and even lost his job as a lawyer after quarrelling with his own client. Still think it’s the end of the world if you haven’t secured your perfect job one month after graduation? Think again.
Gone are the days of student discount. It’s a devastating reality that once you start a full-time role you will inevitably have to pay full price for that pair of jeans you’ve been eyeing up in Topshop (other fashion retailers are available) for the past few weeks. Sign up to discount schemes such as Taste Card, Gourmet Society, Vouchercloud, Groupon, Brand Alley and 16-25 railcards. Whilst you may have to pay a little upfront, the savings in the long-run will far outweigh this. Having said this, you also need to Budget! Budget! Budget! After struggling through on a measly student loan and beans on toast, this may be your first real wage. As tempted as you are to go and blow it on a new pair of trendy trainers or a designer dress, just stop and think. Do you ready need it? No, seriously, you’ll thank me later when you have bills to pay.
Spend your time wisely. You may not think it, but you will actually have more time to yourself. For the first time in years you don’t have lectures, exams, part-time work and an assignment to go home and write into the late hours, so take up something you love outside of work. Learn a new language, discover your creative side at an arts and crafts class, play a new sport, plan weekends away, or relax on the sofa with a Domino’s Pizza, you’ve earned it! But be careful not to turn into a couch potato, especially if you’ve relocated and aren’t quite sure where to go or who with. You work full-time now, be sure to fill your own time with the things you love.
Let your personality shine through. Often, your social skills can land you a job rather than your abilities. After all, no one wants to work with a ding bat or somebody who screams miserable. Being a likeable character not only puts you in good stance in the office, but it also boosts the morale of those around you and can make the office and all-round better environment to be in. Chipotle, the burrito chain restaurant, says it looks for a specific set of 13 qualities in its new hires. They say candidates must be smart, polite, motivated, ambitious, honest, respectful, high-energy, infectiously enthusiastic and happy to name a few. This also puts you in a better position when networking and building your contact base.
Quality over quantity. In university you were given a word count to fulfil when writing essays, even if it felt like you were just writing waffle towards the end. You were encouraged to write notes in short-hand and quickly to be able to keep up with the lecturer. Whilst this may have worked at Uni, rushing through a piece of work will no longer suffice in the world of work. It’s okay to stop, ask for feedback and re-write the whole thing if necessary, learning as you go along is key!
It’s okay to make mistakes. Always strive to do your best, but it’s natural to make some mistakes. If anything, your boss will probably expect you to. You’ve never done this before and let’s be honest, no one likes a know-it-all. You’re not expected to know EVERYTHING. Learning from your mistakes is healthy and gives your employer a chance to give you a few pointers on how to adapt to the company. Ask questions when you are unsure, ask for feedback so you don’t make the same mistake. This will show willingness and perseverance.
So yes, you may sometimes wish that you could go to back to Revolution’s midweek student night and have one too many £2 Vodka Redbulls, you will occasionally want to go back to spending most of the day in bed watching Netflix without feeling too guilty (that 5000 word essay can wait!) and maybe you do secretly miss seeing a Pot Noodle as a perfectly suitable option for breakfast, but it isn’t all doom and gloom, it can actually be quite fun and exhilarating, (and the wage definitely helps!)
Whether you’re looking for your 1st job, or your 31st, contact our team at Forward Role for some friendly career advice or a chat about a new opportunity, or to check out our latest jobs visit www.forwardrolerecruitment.co.uk