Welcome to the real world! You’ve nailed the interview, got the job, signed the contract and bought a whole new professional wardrobe. Now what?
You might be an immediate start or you might have one last lazy student summer before starting your grad job. Either way, pre-first day nerves are perfectly normal for someone 30 years into their career, so for us graduates they are practically a rite of passage.
How do you minimise those first day jitters?
As always, preparation is key. If you have any burning questions that can’t wait, don’t lose sleep over them – just ask! Send an email to your HR contact at the company. One particularly pertinent question that can play on minds is, “What sort of dress code is acceptable?” There is nothing worse than forking out for collars and suit shoes then realising on your first day that the policy is comfy casual. If you weren’t able to scope out the policy during your interview then maybe drop this into your acceptance email or phone call. Once you’re appropriately suited and booted you’re sure to feel more at ease.
It can’t hurt to refresh your understanding of your new role and the company before you start. A solid sense of purpose and belonging will boost your confidence when you walk through the door. You worked for this role, you know why you’re there and what you can bring to this job. Remember how you felt when you accepted the job, this company is excited to welcome you! Get excited to join them.
Once the first day is over and the mandatory inductions have been held – it’s time to get to grips with your role and responsibilities.
Before I started my grad role my best friend reassured me, “They can’t expect you to know everything already.” And she was right, you’re a little baby taking their first steps up the career ladder. You are there to learn. You don’t need to know it all- not yet anyway. Your employer should be aware of your abilities and happy to invest in your development- this means time spent showing you the ropes. Soak it up.
If you can show a real thirst for knowledge and throw yourself in, you’ll be doing just fine. The rest will come with time. In the first few months in your role, don’t forget to take time to reflect on your progress. You’ll wake up one day and realise… “Hey! I know what I’m doing!” But be patient, this day might take a while to come along.
And if you ever feel intimidated remember that there is no member of staff, no matter how senior, who has never been in your position. Everyone has to have a first day. It will go by in a flash and walking through those doors will soon be as natural as walking into lectures used to be, so make the most of it and be your best self.
Written by Sophie Gaston – Radar contributor and recent graduate.