Too often, Universities and even students are too caught up in the complex theories behind business models or Marketing tactics, that we sometimes forget about the day-to-day conventions of life after Uni that are so, seemingly, obvious.
Name an office faux-pas and I’ve made it!
So to help you kick start your career after University, below I’ve listed a few things I wish I’d known and what you may need to know before walking in on your first day at work.
Own a Business Jacket
Most of the time, a business jacket is not completely necessary, but during certain occasions at work, it might be required. You simply don’t want to be the one caught off guard and hurriedly running down to Target or any shop on your lunch break.
A few occasions a business jacket might be necessary for are interviews, professional photos, client meetings or when you’re basically just really trying to impress someone. Poor outfit? Business jacket. Nervous about a meeting? Business jacket. Date after work? Business jacket.
Take a Notepad to Meetings
If you want to express an attitude of “I’m not going to take anything out of this”, then show up with your peppermint tea and nothing else.
Sadly, I have made the mistake of not taking a notepad to a Performance Review (I know!). Moreover, I had to ashamedly ask my manager to rip me a piece of paper from hers and to share her mangled, chewed up pen. Awkward.
You’re Not Congratulated or Praised For Work You Don’t Do.
Yes, I was as shocked as you are. Basically what this means is, if you’re wanting to move up in your career, you’re going to have to put the work in. Moving up isn’t about how long you’ve been in a role, it’s about how well you adjust to your role and how capable you are of then taking on new responsibilities.
A fun thing people do when they want to prove how busy they are is complain about how many emails they have. So a poorly formatted email can add to the stress of those experiencing email overload. Here are a few tips to writing clear emails:
- Include meaningful Subject lines. Be as specific as possible, an example could be ‘For Review | Finance Article’. This is so that those bogged down in emails can easily locate your document. It’s also a way for your recipient to know how urgent the email is.
- Always keep it professional. A ‘Kind regards’ is usually adequate before you move to the more friendly ‘Thanks!’.
- Keep it brief, no one appreciates waffle (unless Belgian).
Okay, this one’s a bit facetious. There’s no place for toxicity in any office, but unfortunately, sometimes you will come across people that you just can’t seem to please. If you’ve gone through all the motions from hopelessly trying to engage with a particular person to having a candid discussion about your indifferences, then be as graceful as possible and accept that sometimes people are just not going to like you. And that’s okay!
A person’s attitude in the office speaks louder than much else. Walk into every room with a positive attitude, a willingness to learn, the ability to own your mistakes and be polite to everyone. The professional services industry, like most industries, is smaller than you think. And you never know who you’re going to run into in the future.
Learn To Be Confident In Yourself
You might experience anxiety around a number of things you would never have anticipated. Things that can be anxiety-inducing might include being held accountable for your work, presenting/public speaking and meeting with or corresponding with difficult clients.
If you’re like me, when I was first started my corporate career, things like speaking in an open plan office, knocking on the door of a Director or Partner’s office or even walking into the lunchroom by myself would make me sweat. Luckily, there are a few hacks that can tackle these anxieties, but my biggest piece of advice would be to back yourself and be confident in yourself – 100% of the time.
Take a deep breath, push your shoulders back and always remember that you earned your position on merit and that you’re capable of contributing some pretty cool stuff.
This is only the beginning.
Just started your career after University? What are some of the things you wished you knew?