How to Survive your First Graduate Job

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You’ve just graduated – congratulations! You’ve survived off pot noodles, staying up all night to “finish assignments” and having to wrap yourself up in blankets throughout the winter season as the heating doesn’t work and the landlord hasn’t sorted that outbreak of mould!

You’ve worked hard to get that Graduate job offer, but first jobs can be daunting. You’re probably experiencing an overwhelming range of emotions. Excited but also kind of nervous to start your new chapter?


Prepare and Plan!

Let me guess, you’re used to going to sleep past midnight and not waking up until midday? Well, as soon as you start your career, that is going to change my friend. You’ve got to be out of bed, dressed, and at work much earlier than the start time you’re most likely used to. It’s sensible to aim for 30 minutes before you’re told to. Be keen. Be engaged. It’s an adjustment, I know!

If you’ve got a long commute to work – especially those working in Central London, planning your route is a must! If you’re getting the train, bus, or even driving it is important to make sure you know what time you need to leave and have your route planned. Nothing worse than getting lost or missing your train on the first day of your new job – not a great first impression! Check out CityMapper and work out how many calories you will burn on your walk!

Researching your employer before your first day is also a must. Take time to have a look at their website and social media pages to get a good understanding of their culture and what they do.

Not forgetting, outfit choices. Preparing your outfit for your first day (the night before) will save any last-minute stressing. Even if the dress code is casual, make sure you’re still polished!


Have the right attitude

With every job, there are always going to be less desirable tasks to complete and as a graduate, you are likely to have your fair share of these at the start. Show you are keen and engaged and the increased responsibility will come.

This may be obvious but, put your phone on silent! Nothing worse than your phone ringing during one of your first meetings!

Attitude isn’t quite everything when it comes to being successful, but attitude plays a vital part in every phase of your life. A poor attitude gets more people fired than any other single factor. A good attitude gets people jobs and helps them keep those jobs.


Choose optimism over pessimism. You can find at least two ways to look at virtually everything. A pessimist sees the effort in the opportunity. An optimist looks for an opportunity in the problem. A poet of long ago describes the difference between optimism and pessimism this way: “Two men looked out from prison bars — one saw mud, the other saw stars.”


Go the extra mile

Yes, you have a job spec with an outline of what you will be doing at work, but this doesn’t mean you can only complete these tasks. Don’t limit yourself by adopting a ‘that’s not my job’ attitude! Get involved, if you want to learn more about a certain department or you already have some knowledge and can help then do so! Collaboration is vital for both the growth of the business and your personal development. Showing that you’re enthusiastic, a hard worker, and eager to learn is a must!

Furthermore, be flexible! If you’re asked to stay a little longer after your finishing time, make sure you do! If they need help with a task or an event that is out of your contracted hours, try and make sure you stick around to help. Show your employers that you’re committed to getting the job done.


Get to know your colleagues

When you join a new company there is always a lot of new faces to meet, it can be overwhelming! Introduce yourself, find out about your colleagues – Take an interest. Having good relationships at work is invaluable.

Work-wife, work-husband, work-friend, co-worker, or whatever you call them, we all have that one special person at work who helps the day go by a bit faster. Not only can they add some fun to a boring day, but they can also improve your performance and productivity.

Try coordinating trips to get lunch or an after-work happy hour, and you’ll soon see 5 p.m. come around sooner than you expected!


Have a good work-life balance

Going from working wherever, whenever to a strict ‘9-6’ office job can be challenging and can negatively impact both your physical and mental health. Having a healthy work-life balance is essential! Regular exercise, eating well and socialising with friends are all important to do whilst out of work hours. It also enhances productivity, allowing you to perform better when at work. It’s a win-win! If you spend all your time at work or even thinking about work you will eventually ‘burn out’!

If you weave yourself into the fabric of the company culture first, you’ll establish a relationship with your working community and establish that you’re committed to the success of the entire company, and not just your own. And that is what will make you an asset in the long run.



Are you an EA, PA, or business support professional looking to take your career to the next level? Executive Partnerships can help. We’re a specialist recruitment agency working with leading companies and organisations to connect them with talented staff. Learn more at

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