1. Establish a routine and healthy habits
University life can lack structure, whereas work life requires a good routine to stay healthy and productive. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep every day by keeping your waking and bedtime hours consistent throughout the week. Setting time aside each day to do at least half an hour of exercise is also important, both to stay energised and destress, while having regular meals and maintaining a balanced diet is also key. Balance is key: don’t let work time encroach on personal time and vice versa. Ensure you continue to invest time in your relationships and hobbies and make use of your annual leave.
2. Be flexible
Many aspects of work may be unfamiliar, so flexibility is key. This is all about having a positive attitude to change, being open-minded when it comes to taking on new tasks and knowing how to roll with the punches. Flexibility is a skill employers love to see and it will help you to navigate challenges and change more effectively, increasing your resilience.
3. Ask questions and keep learning
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your manager will be aware that it is likely to be your first role out of university and won’t expect you to know everything. The first few weeks and months are a time for learning, so embrace it! Moreover, if there’s a particular software or skill you wish to learn, ask. It’s in the company’s best interest to help you develop as they value multi-skilled employees.
4. Set goals
At university there’s always a goal to work towards, whether that’s small ones like coursework deadlines or the obvious milestone of graduation. Once you enter the world of work you’re responsible for setting your own career goals, which requires conscious time and effort. Having clear goals to work towards will help you stay motivated, so start asking yourself what you really want to achieve and how you will get there and keep reflecting on this as you go along.
5. Don’t compare yourself to others
Some of your peers may be lucky enough to land their ideal job the second they graduate, but that’s not the case for everyone. We all take different routes in life, so don’t compare yourself to others. Your first job may not be what you’ve always dreamed of, but the reality is that you’ll be working for approximately 40 years of your life and there will be many opportunities along the way. Use every job as a chance to develop your skills and experience, build your professional network and get a clearer idea of what you want (and don’t want) for the future.
Transitioning into the world of work is often exiting yet daunting at the same time. The most important thing is to keep your cool and remember that the adjustment will take time. Moreover, in addition to the advice above, reach out to friends, family or even your new colleagues or manager for support. Whether they’re going through the same experience now or have done in the past – they will be able to relate.