Life after graduation – 6 lessons learned after 6 months at my first ‘real job’

This month I am celebrating 6 months out of Uni and 6 months in my first ‘real job’! Transitioning from being in full time education to working a 9-5 can be daunting and you may be unsure what to expect, so here are 6 lessons I learned during my first 6 months at work.

 

1. Setting goals is important

Setting goals is super important for career development, progression and to just feel like you are achieving in one way or another. These goals can be anything from a list of tasks to get done in a day that you can tick off as you go, to a 5-year goal of being in a higher position that you can work towards. In my first month at Adatis, I sat down with my mentor to set some 3-month objectives, nothing too pressing, just something to work towards. These goals mostly consisted of learning the platforms that I would be using for my day to day work as I had never used them before. Then again just after my 3-month review (where I had achieved all my goals, yay!) I sat down again with my mentor and set some more goals to work towards. We set a short-term, a medium-term and a long-term goal as it is not always possible to have numerous goals that you will achieve in a short space of time. It always helps to keep you more motivated and on track if you have something to work towards!

 

2. Organisation is key

Being organised at work has definitely taken me a while and I still have a way to go (Let me tell you now, my email inbox is a complete mess!). There is nothing worse than someone asking you for something and you have no idea where it is, either online or on paper. You’ll soon realise how important it is to organise your email inbox, your computer files and your paperwork!  Organising you work calendar is also key to ensure it is up to date and you know where you’re meant to be and what meetings you have – this also makes it easier for any colleagues looking at your calendar as well!

 

 

3. Ask a lot of questions

Think about how much kids ask questions, whatever they are doing they always seem to find something to ask a question about. During school, we begin to stop asking questions out of fear that we will look silly in front of our classmates; then as an adult in the workplace, we hold back from asking questions because we think we are already expected to know the answer or because asking questions may be seen as a sign of uncertainty or laziness. But in reality, asking questions is the simplest and most effective way of learning. If you’re a couple of months down the line in your new job and you still feel like you don’t know anything, it’s probably because you’re not asking enough questions! At Adatis, I have been encouraged to ask questions from the very first phone interview. I was told I am interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing me as I’ve got to make sure I really want the job. One of our values is to listen and challenge, and although it’s important to listen, you are totally fine to challenge people’s ideas. Why is it done that way? How will that work? Will it be better if we do it like this? Never be scared to ask questions, no matter how silly you might think they are.

 

4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes (you don’t have to be perfect)

It can be scary going from spending the last 3-4 years at university then diving straight into a 9-5, but your company will know this is a big change and you are not expected to know everything! It’s easy to think that if you say yes to everything your boss wants you to do, do everything super quickly and to the highest possible standard that you’ll make a good impression; but it’s not always realistic. If you got the job, you are already deemed worthy enough to do the job and are expected to make mistakes and learn from them as you grow within the company. It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself and to not feel like you have to prove yourself to anyone. At Adatis, my line manager was constantly checking up on me during my first month or so (and still does now!) to make sure that I have enough to do but am not overloaded. You’ll eventually find the perfect balance of what your comfort zone is and how many challenges you can take on without feeling bogged down.

 

5. Company culture matters

When looking for a job after graduation, I knew I wanted to work somewhere where I could class it as a ‘permanent job’ not just any job to get me by until I find something better. It’s easy to fixate on job responsibilities, job title, salary etc when looking at job descriptions but they don’t often give away much about company culture. I had my initial phone interview for Adatis with the Recruitment and Onboarding Lead and my now line manager, the Head of Marketing; I asked them about workplace culture and what the office was like and their response was ‘If you want to get work done, don’t come in!’ followed by a lot of laughter. I came off the phone with such a good impression of the company and the interview felt a lot more like a chat than an actual interview! The company culture really drew me in and after 6 months I can say that it lives up to what I thought it would be and that the people of Adatis really make the company.

 

 

6. The learning doesn’t stop

I couldn’t wait to leave the world of education behind after 4 years of exams and coursework, but the learning really never stops! Although I have a marketing degree, it really didn’t prepare me for the practical world of work. I have learnt a lot since I’ve been here and will continue to learn every single day, just in a different kind of classroom. Adatis have been amazing and have sponsored me to gain a new qualification in digital marketing so I am currently completing that course. Since I have been here, I have also gained Google Analytics qualifications and completed a two-day presentation skills course. It’s so important to work for a company that supports your growth and is willing to put in time, effort and money for you to be successful.

Overall, my first 6 months have taught me to embrace every opportunity that the company gives and to not be afraid to make mistakes. Investing in your own knowledge and growth will also benefit the company long term. Adatis really does put its people first and I am excited for my next 6 months (and more!) working here.

 

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