Starting out in the world of work can be daunting as a Graduate or Apprentice. You may instantly place your faith in Management to do the right things by you. You may subscribe to the idea that your manager is fully aware of the best way you can be developed in the first months of the new job. This is often not the case.

Left to fend for yourself in this strange new world, you can quickly become lost in the pace and politics of everyday work. Despite the best efforts of management or HR, with their offer of programmes and initiatives, their effect in developing your potential is marginal in comparison to your own efforts.

This means it’s you who determines how successful you will become in your new job. It’s 99% in your hands. And a great start is 100% achievable with WiseAmigo, so keep reading our tips and tools…

Blast the millennial perception!

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

Your organisation may publicise your arrival with great fanfare. However some folk will see you as a walking millennial stereotype: demanding, lazy and only valuable when it comes to technological difficulties. This may be reflected in the work you are assigned. Show others how prepared you are to invest time and energy to make a real contribution.

  • Research your colleagues, tasks and projects thoroughly. Get to know the history of their work, who gets on and who doesn’t and show that you are attentive, listening and interested.
  • Be practical and get to the point quickly and incisively. People will need to see you have common sense, motivation and initiative.
  • Eliminate any instance that could stir up the millennial stereotype. Be on time and suitably dressed, take notes and create a LinkedIn profile.

Get interactive and where the action is.

Understandably, employers won’t let you in front of their number one client or project on your first day. You will need to convince them that you know what you can behave competently in front of clients. Often bosses will not risk you making a fool of yourself in front of clients, which paradoxically prevents you from learning how to handle yourself, so we have a catch 22. So you need to get away from your desk (if you have one) and get interacting with as many people as soon as you can.

  • Go out and listen to what people say about the realities and challenges of your industry. This will increase your knowledge, build your confidence and professional relationships.
  • Start small: ask to join people for a coffee and pick their brains (most will see it as a compliment).
  • Build up relevant group interaction and ask more experienced colleagues if you can join them on client meetings or visits.
  • Meet beyond the confines of the office’s four walls: Meetup and LinkedIn groups can be great to understand what is happening outside of your organisation. If you’re in a professional setting, explore the associated professional or society groups.

Make contact with people on your path, in other departments and organisations.

Speak to the competition! Your employer might be sceptical of your engagement with the opposition. They may fear you’ll see the grass as greener on the other side… Truth is, by building your network you get to grips with the industry quicker than you ever could by just looking internally. Should you ever decide to move on, this can only be a positive too.

  • Research organisations and connect with peers on LinkedIn or at least check for relevant ‘professional’ profiles on Twitter.
  • Join a young professionals group with like-minded recent graduates also stepping into the world of work.

Devise your own development plan.

Of course your organisation wants you to develop and do well. It’s just that more often than not your development is on their terms. These terms are based on what they need and think the future holds for the company. Your personal needs are important but might come second for  the organisation. So keep an eye on the company’s personal development plan, and create your own development plan. This is essential to ensuring you’re getting most out of work and more generally, life.

  • Think about what you’re doing in big picture terms: what do you want to achieve in the year ahead? How you can do this?
  • Don’t just Google ‘ways to develop’, ask people for help! Use the contacts you know and engage with new ones to uncover aspects of your personal development for improvement
  • Bounce your thoughts and ideas around with someone you can trust to give you honest and objective feedback. This might appear difficult at first, but believe me there will be plenty around you who will be interested in helping you – the trick is in working out who they are!
  • Take the time to take a quick picture of the work you’re proud of as a reminder of what you’ve done. It’s too easy to forget the great work you do.
  • Simply, download the WiseAmigo app which helps you to set your personal development goals, track your progress, engage with a community of like-minded Amigos and curated content to inspire you on your journey.

Use your time well. Go after meaningful projects and experiences.

In the early days (months or even years) nice and interesting work won’t necessarily find its way onto your lap. You’ll have to go and look for it. Time will fly by and before you know it, you’ll be wondering where the first year went. To make sure you don’t regret year one:

  • Make a list of things you can likely experience or achieve in the workplace and link this to milestones in your own development plan.
  • Critically, try to get yourself involved in projects that matter. Far too often grads work on ‘internal projects’ that lack sufficient pressure to bring a real challenge or sense of accomplishment.
  • Make sure the projects do not consume too much of your time, otherwise you’ll risk them becoming a weight around your neck!

Be openminded. Best of luck and keep your chin up in those first months.

The first few months are always the hardest, so just keep pushing and that perseverance will definitely pay off!

Hope you’ve enjoyed the post. At WiseAmigo we’re helping individuals take control of their own development.

Our app makes it easy for you to set personal development goals, track progress, engage with like-minded Amigos and view curated content that will inspire and motivate you on your journey.

Download the iOS app now.

Click below to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook to keep up to date with our journey. We look forward to engaging with you soon!

Photo by:

Saulo Mohana  on CC BY