University life and corporate work life are two very different worlds. For a graduate, these worlds collide and the transition from one to another can be tough. I’m one of those graduates, navigating the world of Optus after spending six years at university. I love being a part of the graduate program at Optus and want to share with you my top four tips for easing into your first ‘real’ job.
Tip #1 – Sleep is key
We all know that the best part about being a student is the freedom of flexibility. However, as soon as you kickstart your career in the corporate world, you’re on a schedule that isn’t entirely in your control. So, it’s important to form a routine and stick to it. As you surely know, a typical graduate role will mean working Monday to Friday in a 9 to 5 environment.
This is where sleep comes in; do not underestimate the power of sleep in your first full-time role! As a student, you’re bouncing between class, part-time work, and social gatherings, so you’re always on the go while working in a corporate environment can sometimes mean long days, plenty of sitting, and continuously using brainpower. It can certainly be a shock to the system that I know took some getting used to!
My tip: Prior to starting at Optus, I proactively brought my bedtime forward (to help adjust my body for ‘sleep mode’). Soon enough, I became a sleep pro and the thought of a 2 am bedtime was not as appealing as turning in at 10 pm. I highly recommend this, especially if you are currently a night owl who struggles to get up at 7 am for work!
Tip #2 – Timing is everything
While this may seem obvious, being on time is essential in the corporate world. From my arrival time in the morning to each and every meeting, it matters. Sneaking into a meeting isn’t quite the same as sneaking into the back of a lecture hall. If I’m honest, it did take some time getting used to the early mornings, and back to back meetings, but with time, it gets easier.
My tip: I personally found that adjusting my email meeting reminders to notify me 10 minutes before a meeting starts (instead of the default 15 minutes) was a huge help. When I get that 10-minute reminder, I do the ‘5-minute snooze’ and use that time to wrap up what I am doing. Then when I get the ‘5 minutes to go’ reminder I gather the things I need (computer, notebook, pen) and start my way over. It’s better to be two minutes early than one minute late. Especially when you’re starting out and developing your personal brand – it’s great to be remembered as the punctual graduate, and people do take notice of that.
Tip #3 – A little preparation goes a long way
Whether I’m planning my outfit the night before or researching a particular topic before an important meeting, I’ve found that preparation can help ease unnecessary stress and make me feel more in control. There’s nothing worse than going into something unprepared, knowing if I had just spent 20 minutes doing the groundwork, I’d feel so much better.
My tip: Have a list – it sounds simple, but I always go to a meeting with some dot points about what I need to contribute and what I need to learn or take away. It can be as little as one thing or as many as half a pages. That way you get out of the meeting exactly what you need to.
Tip #4 – Back yourself
Being new is hard, especially in an unfamiliar environment. However, it’s important to remember that you weren’t hired by coincidence, you were chosen for the skills and qualities that you possess. It’s okay to not know everything right away and you certainly won’t be expected to.
My tip: Take a step back, ask questions and admit when you need support. Just give it time – you know more than you think and you will get it!
Find out more about the Optus Graduate Program by visiting the Optus profile at GradAustralia.