First job – make an impression

by | 28.08.19

You’ve graduated from University or finished College or High School and now you are about to embark on a life – altering experience.

You are going to start your first job. After spending many years sitting in a classroom absorbing knowledge you will soon discover that things are very different in the world of work.

Here are some tips to help you succeed in your first job:

Always arrive at work on time                                                                                                                   

Consider arriving at work a little early i.e.: 10 minutes or so, this will give you time to take your coat off and get a coffee before you start work. Also stick to your lunch hour, never go over time, if you are particularly busy be prepared to eat at your desk,

Dress appropriately                                                                                                                                          

 Look to see what others are wearing in the office, especially those who are further along the career path you want to be on. Generally, in an office you should wear smart clothes. Jeans, leggings, t-shirts etc. are not usually appropriate. Dress to impress.

Listen and observe                                                                                                                                        

Spend the first few weeks in your first job, or in any new job, listening and watching what is going on around you. You will learn a lot if you do this, particularly about what is acceptable behaviour in the office and what is not.

Don’t gossip                                                                                                                                                      

 Keep your ear to the grapevine because you may learn some valuable information but be prepared to separate truth from fiction, but whatever you hear don’t go spreading it around. Also try to avoid being the subject of gossip, be careful what you tell new colleagues about your personal life – they are not your friends yet.

Mind your manners                                                                                                                                             

Be mindful how you behave – swearing, chewing gum, lounging around, will not impress an employer. Additionally, watch your p’s and q’s, always be polite, say please and thank you, offer to help if you see someone struggling. Generally, be a nice person.

Learn telephone etiquette                                                                                                                                 

 We know you have been using a phone all your life, but it is different at work. You should know how to politely make and receive calls. Customer service is paramount, you are representing your employer and this should be done in a professional way.

Find a mentor                                                                                                                             

Look for someone on your career path who is willing to take you under their wing and show you the ropes. This may not be your Manager; it could be a senior colleague who is prepared to share their knowledge and experience with you.

Don’t pretend you know things you don’t                                                                            

If you are not sure how to do something always be prepared to ask for help. It is better to be shown how to do something rather than do it wrong or make a mistake. You need to ask in order to gain knowledge and learn the right way to do things.

Ask questions                                                                                                                                                     

 You may feel silly revealing gaps in your knowledge, but everyone knows you are just starting out. It is much better to ask questions, so you fully understand what you are being asked to do rather than do something incorrectly. Knowledge is important and the only way to obtain it is to ask questions.

Learn to manage your time                                                                                                                                   

It will help you meet your deadlines and complete your work within schedule. Your Manager has given you a task and will probably expect you to complete it promptly. Don’t get distracted when doing a job, focus and work solidly on it until it has been completed

Pay attention to corporate culture                                                                                                              

Learn how things are done within your organisation. Are relationships formal or friendly? Does everyone arrive early or stay late? Are lunch hours short or non-existent? Does everyone dress smartly and in a corporate manner? Look around you and learn.


We hope that you find these tips useful but remember this is your first job and you are bound to make mistakes, our advice is to learn from them, improve your performance, be motivated and the sky could be your limit.

Have a happy career!