September can be a strange time for a lot of people. Children are starting new schools, or moving up a year and starting their GCSE’s or A-Levels, and a new wave of students are heading off to university,
But there’s another group that is hardly ever spoken about, yet with the same level of uncertainty and nervousness - students leaving university life and starting a job.
Think about it - young people are leaving behind a world of partying and day drinking, to be thrown into a world where they have to work for 8 hours a day, travel multiple hours to the office and potentially leave home for the first time. But there’s never been any guidance or help beyond what each specific company may or may not give.
Having been through this myself, I wanted to change that, so here is my guide to graduate life and how to survive it.
Dress To Impress
The average time it takes for someone to form a first impression of you is 7 seconds. This is a very short time, but there are some things you can do so that the impression you leave is a good one:
- As the title suggests, dress to impress; i.e. slightly better than the company dress code.
- When speaking to people for the first time, always make eye contact, it actually signifies intelligence and confidence.
- Ensure you have good body language and posture
Be Early - But Not Too Early
There’s a few things that anybody can do to be successful in their new job and that starts on day 1. Always be early for work, especially your first day. But like your interview, never be more than 10-15 minutes early. Your boss and team will be expecting you at a certain time, and may still be prepping for your arrival. Whilst being really keen and arriving really early may seem like a good idea, it can actually backfire on you - not the first impression you want to make.
Be Attentive And Ask Questions
Whatever role you embark on, there will be difficulties and challenges along the way. If there’s something you’re unsure about; try and use existing company information. I used to work for a software company, and when I wasn’t sure, the first thing I would do is look at existing user guides and product documents. But if I still wasn’t sure, then I would ask my manager or more senior analysts within the company - which brings me onto the second point. No matter your level, there’s no such thing as a silly question, and it’s better to admit that you aren’t sure about something as early as possible than to stay silent the whole time. No-one is expecting you to be an expert, and it shows good personal development to know when you're stuck and need help.
How To Cope Moving To A New Area
Starting a new job may also mean moving locations and moving into a big city for the first time, which can be terrifying. What bus or train to get, where is a good takeaway joint, things to do in the local area - all new things that can be terrifying for someone moving to a new place.
However, these nerves can be reduced through a number of different ways.
- Try and join as many social groups within your workplace as possible. If there isn’t one, speak to HR about starting one - just like a university society, you’ll be able to meet like minded people within your work and it’ll make forming work friendships much easier.
- House sharing with people? Plan stuff to do with them on weekends. A walk and picnic through the local park, a few beers in a pub - one of the best things I saw was during lock-down, where a house turned each bedroom into a different bar with its own theme, lights and music. Even a house board game night can make moving to a new area that little bit easier when you know you can come home and see people you actually enjoy spending time with.
- Want to meet other people? I swear by the website called MeetUp, it has a number of different categories such as sports, book clubs, photography and sci-fi; with meet-ups across the globe. It's the perfect way to meet like-minded people wherever you are.