6 ways to get ahead in your new graduate job

Make notes

You’ve done the applications, interviews, assessment days, more interviews and got the job on a graduate programme. That’s the difficult part done right…right? Starting a new job can be really hard – there are so many new people, processes and things to remember. Typically, your new team will understand you’re learning the ropes. However, there’s plenty you can do to get ahead in your new graduate job.

1. Do the simple stuff well

Almost everyone on a graduate programme will have to do their share of grunt work – as the newest staff, the admin and menial tasks will often fall to you. But it’s only by getting the basics right that you’ll build the trust to be given more complex, interesting and enjoyable work. This means double checking your work, removing typos, making sure numbers add up, formatting correctly and, above all, sucking it up and being enthusiastic about it! Do the simple stuff well and you’ll quickly move on to the work your degree deserves.

2. Learn from small mistakes

But realise that everyone makes small mistakes – it’s all part of learning. The important things are being honest about them, understanding what went wrong and making notes to ensure it only happens once. People are willing to give second chances… third, fourth, fifth… not so much!

3. Go easy on the phone

In today's mobile-first world, it's hard not to keep checking your phone. But with so much to learn and so many good impressions to make, each task and meeting needs your undivided attention. Go easy on the phone during work hours and respond to messages and calls during breaks. If it's urgent use the desktop version of your apps so that you can do it discreetly.

Phone breaks

4. Get organised

With so many new people, concepts and processes, you need to get organised. Keeping a to-do list and prioritising each task with importance and the due date is a simple and effective way to manage your work and stick to deadlines.

5. Ask questions, ask for help

Get a good understanding of the work you are doing by asking questions and be eager to learn about the industry and company. Better yet, find yourself a buddy or mentor and exchange experiences with others on your programme so you’re not going at it alone. Always try to solve problems yourself first but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – again, it’s all part of learning.

6. Make a great first impression

And lastly, advice you’ll hear from a lot of people – first impressions matter so make sure it’s a good one. Be early, dress appropriately, go easy on that phone (see #3), show interest in your new co-workers, have a firm handshake and make eye contact when meeting people.

Starting a new graduate job can be exciting and daunting in equal measures. But remember to follow these tips and you'll be sure to get ahead.

James Lewis

Vanna co-founder and employer branding expert

3 min read

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