Your 101 Graduate Survival Kit.
Let’s be real, by now you are acing student life. You know where to get the best (and cheapest) eats on campus, you handle every deadline that comes your way (obviously with the help of caffeine), you get away with the same shirt 3/5 days a week AND you can convince your mum you are 100% late-night studying on a Friday and not at all at the uni bar.
Right now, life couldn’t get any better … but I bet there’s a small nagging voice in the back of your head that’s reminding you of your upcoming graduation date and ALL the responsibilities that are coming with it. How do I make the leap into a full-time job? How long is my lunch break? How do I send a professional e-mail? Can someone please tell me what the hell ‘work culture’ means?
We’ve got you. This is your 101 Survival Kit to living life as a graduate; written for you by a fellow graduate! I graduated from QUT with a Bachelor of Media & Communications in July 2017. My final semester was a blur of assessments, working a part-time industry job, job hunting, an internship, volunteering and STRESS – so I know what you are going through!! Hopefully these next few points will calm your nerves and settle your stomach about the next few months! If you have any follow-up questions you can always shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 // Things take time.
Being prepared never hurts and if you’re genuinely looking for a job then you need to be all in. Things to consider –
> Is your resume up-to-date? Be aware that skills and requirements will vary between job listings, make sure that your application reflects how you match these and is not just a ‘broad overview’.
> What is the notice of employment termination at your current job? 2 weeks? 4? This is something you need to be aware of so that you can communicate this in an interview, if asked.
> Do you have a pre-booked holiday coming up? Is now the best time to start committing yourself to interviews?
While all of the points above are crucial when it comes to preparation in job-hunting, you also need to be patient. You have to be ready because when things happen – they happen fast. However, sometimes it can take a while to kick-off! From the time Lisa posted the job position at generationYOU, to when I first walked into the office as an employee – it was 6 weeks in total. I know that sounds quick, but something to remember – not ALL job processes are the same and I had been actively job-hunting and applying for at least three months prior before I got my lucky break!
2 // Don’t stress about your first day.
You will be given an induction AKA everything important will be made clear: start and finish times, emergency exits, holiday leave, lunch breaks, OH&S; if it’s important I guarantee it will come up in your induction.
You will not be given a stack of tasks and expected to complete them by the end of the day. Managers will be cluey about how nervous you are. Depending on what industry you are in, your first day will probably consist of small tasks like making yourself familiar with your department priorities, drafting a few titles for blog posts and maybe some rough copy or making calls to request quotes.
Don’t be too scared to ask questions! If you don’t understand something or would like to know a bit more about a department, document or process – ask! Your employer will probably appreciate your attentiveness.
If you do happen to run out of things to do, please do not idly sit at your desk waiting for someone to hand you a task. Step up and ask how you can best contribute to the day – remember you were hired, you are part of the Company now.
3 // Attire.
Repeat after me – there is no such thing as being overdressed on your first day (well maybe black-tie is taking it too far, but you know what I mean). This applies to every day that you go into work. PLEASE avoid anything that makes you think or look twice. This is the 9-5 world: you want to be remembered for your flawless first impression and energetic work ethic NOT your Saturday night outfit. If you are nervous, don’t be afraid to ask about the correct attire before you start.
4 // Be savvy with your pay cheque.
How exciting is your graduate salary? Hey, we’re moving up in the world fam!
Time to be serious – I CANNOT stress enough the importance of you not getting carried away. Okay, yes I bought a few nicer work-wear items from stores I would otherwise never step foot in, but I made sure this didn’t become a habit. Consider investing your money into a savings account for a practical investment. Did someone say new car or Christmas holiday?
5 // Health.
Don’t let yourself slip into a stressed “eat, sleep, work” pattern, as this will unfortunately ruin your chances of being an asset to the team! It will take time to adjust to a 9 – 5, 5 days a week routine. You might not be pulling all-nighters, but it will be a new level of exhausting that you will have to get used to.
Speaking from experience – it’s easy to let yourself get caught up in the whirlwind of WORK, but it should not consume you! At genYOU we want you to aim for work-life rhythm.
6 // Take time to re-charge.
Following on from number 5: you need to take time to re-charge and I don’t mean binging through 10 episodes of How I Met Your Mother re-runs.
Use your spare time to energise your mind and your body – go for a run, take the dog for a walk, go on a road trip for a weekend, ask one of your university tutors to grab a coffee and catch up. There are a lot of things we can do to get us away from the screens, try your best to do so – you will 100% feel better for it.
7 // Make time for projectYOU.
I’m not going to lie. Starting a full-time industry job is stressful. In addition to meeting and impressing a bunch of new people, you also need to get used to new protocols, consistently perform to your best ability AND prove that you know how to use your degree by providing worth! Phew.
Life and work can be overwhelming, but look for ways to remind yourself of why you have worked hard to get where you are. Keep a visual representation of your career and life goals in a place where you can be reminded of what you’re working towards – this can be in the form of a mood board, list on a post-it note or even a quote on the screensaver for your laptop!
For example, I recently applied for a few volunteering positions – thinking that these would be a nice way to give back to the Community as well as break up my marketing-driven mind. Unfortunately for me, this added more commitments to my calendar and caused me to feel overwhelmed! I’ve taken a step back and realised that maybe volunteering is something I can re-visit once I am fully on top of my work schedule or.
At University we’re juggling so many different projects and commitments at once that its easy to think “this is how it always has to be” – it’s okay to take things one at a time once you enter the workforce!