Now that we’re slap bang in the middle of summer here in the UK, most of you who have completed your final year of university will have graduated or will be graduating soon. This can be a scary, but at the same time, exciting period for graduates who have completed one stage of their careers and are moving onto the next.
Armed with the degree that you’ve worked so hard towards in the last few years (hopefully!) now is the time to start applying for jobs and getting set for the working world. If you haven’t already begun looking and are instead still enjoying your time off, then it doesn’t hurt to have a sniff around and to start thinking about what you want to do in life.
It can be tough to find that dream job; the one that has the right pay, the right specifications and in the right location. Very tough in fact. According to a recent study, almost 40% of graduates remain unemployed in the six months after leaving university.
Not only that, but of those recent graduates who have managed to land full time work, half are stuck in jobs that do not even require a degree!
But no fear – it’s not all doom and gloom. The unemployment levels have actually dropped since the recession and this trend seems set to continue positively in the next few years.
So, if you’re a recent graduate still looking for work, one heading into work soon or a student planning ahead, then here’s 9 tips for graduates that will help you succeed as you move into your first job role.
1. Don’t worry if you don’t know everything
Your first employee will not expect you to know the ins and outs of their business and how to efficiently do every task that the organisation does.
Don’t act like you know everything when you clearly don’t because your employer, who has been in the industry much longer than you, will see straight through it.
Be clear about where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you’re not sure how to complete a task. At the end of the day, it’s the business who will suffer from your mistake if you do something wrong.
You don’t need to bring ground-breaking ideas into your first job role to be valuable to your new company. You will learn a hell of a lot in your first year of work, treat it as a learning experience.
At Uni, you probably spent a lot of time studying alone, writing alone, reading alone and drinking alone! Group assignments and presentations are often few and far between and your tutors will constantly emphasise the fact that only your own desire to succeed will get you through the course.
They’re not lying, but as you transition into a working environment, everything changes from the focus on the individual to a focus on teamwork. This is especially true if you go on to work in a small business – the difference between success and failure is so small that if you fail to collaborate, it’s game over.
Ask questions, consult with your peers and constantly communicate ideas to succeed in your new role.
3. Show patience and resilience
Not enjoying yourself after a few days? After a week you’re thinking that this isn’t the right career for you? Don’t jack it in just yet.
Naturally, going from a few hours of lectures a week and the odd assignment a month to 9-5+ working days is going to be tough. The workload might be a lot initially and you may feel like you’re out of your depth.
Truth is, we’ve all been there and we highly recommend that you give your new job a few months at least before considering other options. It will look better on your CV to have months experience at a job rather than just a few weeks. It shows resilience.
4. Be proactive
You’ve probably heard this advice banded around at university for the past 3 years but you’re not at school anymore. Nobody but yourself is going to make things happen for you.
Ran out of tasks to complete for the day? Do some research and see if you can implement some new ideas into your work. Alternatively, ask colleagues if they need any help or if they have any thoughts on what extra you could be doing to help the business.
5. Never stop learning
You learn a lot at university but it shouldn’t end there just because your working day is 10 hours long now, not your sleeping day. Keep up to date with breaking news and the latest trends in your industry.
If you have a passion for the job then you’ll find that reading up on news isn’t a pain and sharing ideas with your friends who graduated in the same discipline will be a fun conversation rather than a mundane task. It’s a great way to improve yourself and impress your boss with your knowledge.
For more business tips check out our blog.