The early days in any digital role can be daunting, especially for recent graduates taking their first steps on the career ladder. Sue Pilgrim, MD at creative, digital and design recruitment specialists Become, has some tips on how to make an impact
Congratulations! You have graduated and successfully landed the first permanent role of your career. Welcome to the world of work.
Once the celebrations have subsided, a wave of apprehension and trepidation often descends on the first-timer during those early days in a new position. Fortunately, there are many ways in which a company can help you through this time, and also ways in which you can help yourself.
Most companies irrespective of size will normally appoint a buddy or mentor for you – this could be one or two individuals in the business. Your buddy will probably have been a graduate like yourself, have been with the company for about a year and will help you settle in from a social perspective. They will orientate you, introduce you to people, take you out for a welcome drink and generally help you to feel comfortable and at home.
Your mentor, on the other hand, is usually someone who has been with the business longer and has excellent technical and interpersonal skills. They are assigned to help you in terms of your job role, technical assistance and work-based projects. They will be able to help you understand what a project requires of you and help identify any training needs and support that you may need over the coming months. A positive mentor can make a huge difference to how quickly you get to grips with your new role and become a productive and invaluable member of the team.
Don’t be afraid to ask your line-manager for a support person to help you in the initial days if someone is not assigned. It will be mutually beneficial for everyone and will also demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to the job.
In addition, most companies will provide you with a formal induction programme. This can vary from structured programmes in larger organisations, to orientation programmes in smaller businesses. Make sure you make the most of this opportunity to understand the company, the business and what is expected of you. It’s a great way to engage with your colleagues and the company culture and will help you make that transition from university/student life, to a productive member of your team who adds value.
So, you have been on board a couple of weeks and are beginning to find your feet. How do you go about being proactive and promoting your creative ideas to others in your team, some of whom will have much more experience than yourself?
Start by building your confidence levels by keeping up to date with what is happening in your creative space. Get actively involved, listen to your colleagues and most importantly promote your ideas as solutions to problems and opportunities that people can get excited about and engage with.
Gradually, through exposure to different projects and creative tasks, you will start to build up your own ‘technical tool kit’ as you develop new skills, build expertise and gain experience. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That’s how we learn and most businesses will have a ‘safety net ‘provision in place for new recruits.
Remember, the more you get involved and proactively immerse yourself in the company, the more likely you will succeed and make the impact that all first-timers are looking and hoping to do. In-fact, your colleague will be delighted to have such a dynamic and positive individual in the business – especially at a junior level. So relax and enjoy, this is the beginning of your career and a rewarding and exciting period in your life.