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Maria Kramer

Whitelock,K

June 15th, 2023

Starting your first professional role soon? Top tips on how to prepare!

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Maria Kramer

Whitelock,K

June 15th, 2023

Starting your first professional role soon? Top tips on how to prepare!

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

The first day of a new graduate job can feel as daunting as it is exciting. It can seem like there are a lot of unknowns to manage – from practical things like where to be and what the working day will be like, through to important questions like what to wear!

Starting your first professional job can feel like a big step and yes, there might be some adjustments to make but actually the transition isn’t as hard as you might think. There are also past experiences you can draw on (think back to your first day at college and LSE, your first day in a summer job – you met new people, learned new processes). Knowing what to expect from this next big step can help you manage the transition smoothly, so in this blog post we’ll discuss some top tips for starting a new role plus some ideas of where you can go for further support.

Be ready for your first day

There will be some practicalities like signing a contract, agreeing your start date and place of work, along with working hours and patterns. Many workplaces now operate in a hybrid way so it can be useful to know how your organisation works (do they provide a laptop or other equipment, for example). Other things that can be helpful to consider ahead of your first day include knowing where you need to be and at what time, along with planning your commute, and thinking about what you might wear – planning these practical things can take the pressure off!

Ask lots of questions

When you’re new, it’s the best time to ask lots of questions, as you have a good reason for not knowing the answers yet. So don’t be afraid to ask questions because you don’t want to take up people’s time or come across negatively – colleagues are usually very happy to help new starters.

Get to know the role

The first day, first week, maybe even the first few months, are very much about understanding the role and what’s expected of you. You will likely attend induction meetings with other team members to hear about their work and how your own work fits in. It’s also common for line managers to organise one-to-one meetings with you, so you can discuss how things are going, your objectives over the next few months and any support you might need.

Keep things organised

Taking notes will help you get to know what’s expected of you. Getting your head around information documents and saving these for future use will help you keep organised. Maintaining your diary and managing your time well will also make things a lot easier!

Build a network and find a mentor

You already landed a job, so why do you need to keep networking? Well, networking will help you stay on top of industry trends, keep an eye on the job market, and identify training opportunities. Start building a network of contacts by getting involved in LSE’s alumni events and joining relevant LinkedIn groups and other specialist groups.

You might also find a mentor through talking to your connections. A mentor can offer support, especially in the early days of your new role. Give some thought to what support you need. Knowing what sort of mentor you’re looking for can help you identify people who would be a good fit. It might be someone from a similar background, someone who has been working for longer and further down the line or in a position you aspire to. If you know someone else who has a mentor, you can ask them for suggestions.

Seek out opportunities to get involved and keep learning

This might mean taking on more responsibility (when you feel ready), saying yes to getting involved in different projects, working with different teams, and joining any social activities if you’d like to. There are often lots of opportunities to learn from colleagues. You can also think about any training and development you might be interested in. Many organisations are working hard to ensure they have an inclusive culture and have initiatives in place for employees from diverse backgrounds, including lower income households.

Start a book of your work accomplishments

This might seem odd at first and a bit like bragging, but it will be really useful for a few reasons. Not only will it help you keep track of all your key contributions and successes, it will also help you update your CV and have clear things to talk about as you progress through your career. It can also be a great way to boost your confidence when you see what you’ve achieved and enjoyed!

And if it isn’t going quite to plan…

It’s perfectly normal to have good and bad days when starting a new role. Sometimes it can feel like things are going smoothly, other times it might feel overwhelming to integrate into a new team and learn new systems (especially when it feels like everyone around you already knows how to do it). When you’re discussing topics or projects that you haven’t encountered before, you could feel imposter syndrome creeping in, or maybe the role isn’t quite what you expected.

Our advice is to give yourself plenty of time to settle in. If things feel challenging, reflect on what might be causing this. It might be a good idea to chat to your boss or another colleague (some organisations have a buddy system which can be perfect for this kind of situation).

LSE Careers is here to help too – whether you’d like to chat through your current role and what’s going on, update your CV or explore looking for your next role, LSE graduates can access careers support for five years after graduation, so there is always someone to talk it through with. Visit the LSE Careers website to find out how we can support you.

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About the author

Maria Kramer

Whitelock,K

Posted In: Career planning | Careers Advice | Careers skill | LSE Careers | Networking | Recruitment

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