So you have just got your dream job...Let's make sure you keep it!
Despite the doom and gloom you may see in the papers, and hear on the news referring to the UK’s unemployment levels, we are pleased to report that the graduate recruitment market remains buoyant in our sectors.
While there are fantastic companies that are still recruiting, the bar is raised, and competition for the top jobs is high! This can result in a very tough and often drawn out interview processes, including multiple stages, competency tests, maths / verbal reasoning tests, assessment centres, presentations and case studies. Each of these stages will have taken up a lot of your time - preparing any presentations, researching the company, the product, their clients, competitors, the interviewers, and brushing up on your own skills and interview techniques, not to mention all of the hours you will actually be in the interview. It is not surprising that many feel that looking for a job, is actually harder / more time consuming and more stressful than working itself!
You have worked so hard, you have been offered and have accepted your dream job – you've naturally partaken in the customary new job celebrations - now to make sure you are set to impress your new employers!
It's during the fist couple of weeks of starting your new job that your managers, team members and colleagues form their opinion of you. As the saying goes – first impressions count! They know you are new to the role, and maybe even the industry, so they won't be expecting you to know it all and be perfect. They will be looking to see that you are willing, eager to learn, hard working, and are a good culture fit!
The Beginning: Research Research Research
It is great to show how keen you are from the off – before you start, ask if there are certain books / websites / trade press they could recommend you to brush up prior to starting. This will show your new employers that you are ready to work hard, throw yourself fully in to the role and market and that you are willing to go the extra mile to succeed. It will make the start in your new role much more successful, as you have a market understanding, will be aware of specific industry terminologies and meanings, and therefore you will feel more comfortable when you start.
If you are not already signed up to LinkedIn before you start your new role, sign up and set your profile. Throughout the interview process you will have met a number of people, many of whom will hold senior positions in your new company. Before you start, send them a LinkedIn request, with a brief note, letting them know how excited you are to be starting with them. Add your new manager, and any other team members you will be starting with. The more names and faces you start to recognise, the less daunting it will be on day one.
If like me, you are a bit of a shopaholic, a new job poses an excellent opportunity to hit the shops! It is likely you will have picked up a good understanding of the culture and dress code in the office. It is important to also ask when you accept the job about the dos and don'ts of dressing in their office – this will make dressing for day one much easier! Whilst it can be tempting to go out and splash the cash now you know you have a steady stream of income coming in, my advice would be to stick to essentials to start with. That way, after a week or two in the office, you'll get to see what people wear day to day and you can make sure to tailor your wardrobe effectively.
I learnt this lesson the hard way! I was so excited when I was offered my second job after university; I did not think to ask about the dress code. I had come from a very corporate company where suited and booted was the way to be. With this in mind, I went out the day after I got my new job and treated myself to 2 brand new (and very expensive) suits, numerous shirts, and of course, a fair few pairs of new shoes! I turned up on my first day dressed to impress, only to find everyone in the office wearing jeans! Whilst no one said anything, it made me feel pretty self conscious all day, which in turn impacted my confidence introducing myself to the team.
Understand the dress code, and wear something you are comfortable in! Whilst your brand new pair of sky high killer heels may make your legs look great, how great will you look, 6 hours in, hobbling around in front of your new colleagues!? Be sensible, dress appropriately!
You will be overwhelmed with information on starting your new role (even if you have worked in the industry before). There will be training, company processes, induction, and LOTS of names to learn! You will take in all of the information and store it for the short term, but will you remember what you were taught when you are doing the job next week, or the week after?
The worst thing you could do when starting a new role is to re-ask questions that you have already been given the answer to. So the best advice we can give to you is to take notes! In each induction session or training session you go to, make sure you write down as much as possible. This has the benefit of showing you are super keen (which all companies want to see when you are new), a well as making you look super sharp when you get to your desk, as you will be able to get going straight away!
Go the extra mile
The hours of 9 – 5 may clearly be written in your contract, but how do you think it will look to your new employers if you turn up at 8.59 and switch your computer off ready to leave at 5 on the dot? Ask yourself what is the impression you are looking to make to your new employers, your team? I am not saying it is necessary for you to be the last person in the office each evening (especially as when you start it is unlikely you will be inundated with your own clients etc), but it is important to show your work ethic, that you are willing to go the extra mile – and ultimately – how much you want the role!
Whilst we are on the subject of timings, I think it is necessary for us to briefly touch on time keeping. DO NOT BE LATE - this is a cardinal rule you need to follow! Your journey may be long, you may be commuting from your parents' house, the train may have been delayed, you may not have been able to find one of your shoes – there are numerous excuses we hear everyday. These however, are not acceptable at the best of times, let alone when you are starting a new job.
I would suggest planning your journey using a route planner such as TFL www.tfl.gov.uk which will show you the best way to get to work and how long this will take. Take the time they have suggested, and then add more! That way, you can allow for any extenuating circumstances that may affect your journey to work.
It is often hard to know how to project yourself when you are starting a new role. The benefit of starting in a new company is that effectively, you can be who you want to be! Obviously, do not try and be someone you are not (this will get found out very quickly), but use the opportunity to project positivity! Your first few weeks can be very daunting, and there are a lot of people for you to meet, make an impression on. Look and act to show you are really happy to be joining the team. Introduce yourself to the people around you, and really take this time to get to know your colleagues and their personalities.
Even if you feel you know it all, the chances are you don’t, and if in the rare event that you do, your new team mates won’t thank you for the attitude. Make your team feel valued, ask them questions, be engaged and be interested – really listen to what they have to say. It is important at this time to listen listen listen! Listen 80% of the time and talk 20%. You will get a lot more respect from your new colleagues by showing them you are listening and absorbing the time they are spending teaching and training you.
There will be a variety of long standing relationships, friendships, hierarchy and sometimes even rivalries in the business you are joining. Stay away from taking sides, do not gossip, and remember to be friendly and offer to make the tea round as soon as possible (this always gives my team a positive impression of any new team members we get!)
Of course this list is not exhaustive, and most companies will hold expectation meetings with you when you first start, but by following these roles, and adding a real passion to succeed, you will fly through you first few weeks and then months, and hopefully years within this company.
You can see this blog in video format, and meet the Graduate team, by clicking here
If you have any questions about this blog, or you are looking for your first sales job, or a step up, get in touch
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