Graduates: 7 things To Learn From Your First Job


For a graduate, getting your first job is a big step in developing your career and something you should feel really proud of.

But the transition from university to the working world is not always that easy and it can be a real challenge sometimes.

Even if you already had some summer internships or part-time jobs that gave you an idea of how work is, there’s nothing quite like landing your first job.

Here are 10 things that you need to learn from that first job that will prepare you well for a great career over the following years:


  1. Ask Questions

Everyone that starts a new job in a new company will need some time to adjust to the new environment and work.

You’ll feel this even more because it is your first job after all.

So it is really important to ask questions! From more technical questions related to the work itself to other questions related to how the office works, don’t be shy.

Asking questions will show that you are proactive and interested to learn.


  1. Be Helpful

Helping others and having a collaborative spirit is more important than being the best, especially in your first job.

It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show your skills and talents, on the contrary. Show them in a way that others find valuable and be open to help.

You might end up with a lot of positive recommendations from managers and colleagues, something great to have from your first job!


  1. Balance your life

When you start working in your first job your life will be completely different from university life.

So focus on balancing your work and your personal life so you don’t end up working long hours everyday and start feeling stressed and burn out without time for anything else.

You still need time for family, friends and yourself too. Try to find that comfortable balance that feels right for you.


  1. Manage your Budget

Taking home a monthly salary is exciting and very rewarding.

It means that you can make a lot of decisions by yourself and start to be very conscious about how you spend your money.

Some of those decisions will be very easy to make and others will need a bit more awareness and responsibility, but it’s all worth it.


  1. Develop relationships

When you start a new job you not only will have to perform well at what you do, but you’ll need to develop relationship with others too, whatever the sector you work in.

The people that hire you did so because they thought you would be a good fit for the team as well.

Don’t be surprised to see that you have a lot of colleagues that you get on really well with but there may be others who you will find more challenging to work with. And this is also true for clients and suppliers.

So one thing you’ll learn on your first job is how to manage these relationships.

Remember, sometimes the more challenging relationships are the ones that will teach you more about yourself, which takes to the next point.


  1. Learn More About Yourself

The workplace is exciting and challenging at the same time.

You’ll learn a lot about yourself on your first job. About your work ethic, about your behaviour, about your relationship skills, your problem-solving skills, about what you enjoy and what you dislike in your work, etc.

Your first job will give you valuable information for you to know more about yourself and develop forward the career of your dreams.


  1. Go the Extra Mile

In your first job you’ll learn that always doing more than what’s asked of you really pays off.

Many people only do the bare minimum of what is required, and then go nowhere in their careers.

If you want to have a successful career, get to work early, ask for more responsibilities and never let yourself hit a plateau in your position.

Do more than what is expected and learn more through reading, going to events, taking technical courses, etc.

Doing this makes you stand out among the other employees who are content to just coast through their job.


Over to You

If you’re a graduate and need counseling about getting it right at your first job or even about job searching, contact us now on 0845 45 900 35 or email for a free, no obligation, one hour career consultation with a Gateway consultant.

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