Entering the professional workplace for the first time can be a daunting experience. Jonathan Verrell from the FDM Group – the largest employer of IT graduates in Europe – shares his advice on making a successful transition to the world of work.
Functioning as part of a new team in a strange environment and pursuing a new role is a nerve-wracking prospect, and one I didn’t exactly take to like a fish to water. I rapidly had to learn workplace etiquette and develop a new set of social skills that would favour me as a chummy, sociable but professional individual. This wasn’t what I was quite expecting, however it was something I needed to pick up, and fast.
There isn’t a definitive guide to starting a new job and everyone’s experience will be different, but here are some hints and tips that may make your transition to the world of work that little bit easier.
Your interview will have given you an insight into the general attire of the office so it is best to follow suit. Confusingly, some companies’ dress codes vary; staff may dress more casually on a day-to-day basis, but smarten up as appropriate – such as when interviewing candidates – which could give you a misleading impression. Other companies may dress smartly through the week, but then dress more casually on a certain day – ‘dress down Fridays’ are quite common. Rather than go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, get a couple of smart basics that you can dress up or down – taking off a jacket or a tie can instantly change your look – and then you can buy some new outfits when you’ve a clearer idea of the office norms.
Believe me when I say the more friends you have at work, the easier your working day becomes. Being a sociable character is good, but do remember that you could be working with your colleagues for some time so may need to keep a professional distance for business purposes. Avoid office politics – don’t take sides on somebody else’s grudge; creating rifts is not helpful.
Workplace etiquette describes the conduct and behaviour of employees. Be punctual. Aim to arrive a little early – this will give you some time to get organised before your day begins and ensure you’re still on time in the event of any transport problems.
Be sure to lend a hand – keep a lookout for opportunities where you can help a colleague – not only is this a good way to build key relationships, but you will also be accredited for going that extra mile, which employers admire.
Jonathan made the move from student to working professional with the help of FDM Group’s Graduate programme. FDM Group has helped over 1,500 students launch their future careers in the technology industry.