On the first day of your graduate job
This is the second part in our Preparing to Start your Graduate Job series. Here we discuss what to expect and how to make a good impression when you arrive for your first day in the new job. In part one, we shared a few tips on how to prepare for the big day. Here we look at the day itself.
Be prepared for meeting and greeting lots of new people. There will be names and job titles to remember. The notebook mentioned in part one may come in handy here! Along with introductions, there will be small talk. Again, building blocks for creating good working relationships – remember from part one we discussed going to lunch with co-workers as part of this process.
Perhaps have your elevator pitch ready or some topics in mind to discuss with colleagues – hobbies and interests etc. Be interested in what people are saying. Listen and ask questions about the person or the topic they are speaking about.
At the same time as a lot of interaction on day one, be prepared for working independently. There is likely to be a pile of reading to get through- staff handbooks, policies and procedures, “how to” guides and familiarising yourself with in-house systems.
Workplace etiquette and communication channels
It will ring! Listen to how others are answering the telephone or ask for the preferred greeting. A simple “hello” may not do. There may be a standard “hello (company/department name)”, or at the very least ,“hello (your name) speaking”, so that the caller knows that they have reached the correct department/person.
Be aware there may be a different greeting or call tone for internal and external calls. Don’t just assume “I’m new someone else will pick up the phone”. You are an employee now too, and part of the team, so will be expected to answer calls at some point, even if it is just to redirect a call or take a message.
If you are taking a message make sure you note time of call, caller’s name (including any spellings), company name, telephone number and you may even want to ask for the email address as a back up. Send the details via email to the person who the call was for, this way you have a record and the message has been passed on. A scrap of paper could easily be misplaced or you could forget to pass it on!
As with phone calls, ask if there is specific email etiquette. There is likely to be a standard email signature for you to sign off your emails including name, job title, company and contact details. The way you write a business email is also important. These may be kept as records of conversations or specifics regarding a certain project.
Use correct spelling and grammar (not text talk). Greet the person by name e.g. Hi Sarah or Dear Jane. Sign off with “regards” and your own name. Keep the tone professional. Bear in mind the email is likely to be kept and could be shared with or read by another colleague or even a manager. At any point someone could get copied into the email thread. If the email is requesting lots of information, it’s a good idea to number or bullet point your response to each item to make it clear that you have addressed all points.
Set up any voicemails, personal greetings and out of office replies. People like to know that they have come through to the correct person and that you have received their message. That way they know that you will be responding in a timely manner rather than the message being lost in space somewhere or sitting in the mailbox of the wrong person.
Personal phones away
It may be tempting to fill your friends in on all of the happenings of the day. However, your new boss will not be pleased to see you with phone in hand, or that you have posted social media updates during work time! It’s just not acceptable or professional. Keep the phone for the break times and have it safely stored away on silent.
Good luck and enjoy your first day at your graduate job!