Essential skills for those just starting out in the world of work

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Have you landed a new job in lockdown? Here Arden University’s Student Support Manager Siân Duffin shares the essential skills for those just starting out in the world of work.

Last month I shared some tips for appreciating the job you have and planning for the future but in light of the pandemic some of you may be starting a new job or, having finished your qualifications, might be starting out in the world of work for the first time. Here are some top tips to help you settle into your new workplace…

Embrace the nerves

Everyone gets a little unsettled and restless when they start a new job, particularly during the lead up and especially the night before. Try to tell yourself it is normal and accept how you feel. Can you do some research about your role, the company, its ethos, its success and values? Chances are you did some of this in preparation for interview, but now make it work for you and learn as much as you can prior to your first day.

Preparation is key

Do you know what to expect on your first day? It can be worth having a call with the HR team or your new manager to ask some questions you may not have thought of at the time. Dress code, options to get food and drink and parking can all be worries that can be settled with a conversation beforehand. It is always worth taking a water bottle, a notepad and pen with you. You may also need to take documents like your passport so that you can get a company identification. Some loose change can also be helpful as well as making sure that you have headphones and your phone is fully charged. It can also be worth trying the journey at the time you would need to do it, so you know how long it may take and practice the route or the train changes.

Names, titles, relationships

You’re likely to meet a lot of people in your first day and week. It can be useful to make notes of who people are and their title plus a couple of lines about their role. If you are leading a team, spend time with the people who report to you and listen more than you talk. You never get the chance again to make a first impression or to learn in your first week. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Many organisations will use acronyms and forget that not everyone understands them. Asking to shadow others can also be useful or finding someone to mentor you in your new role. Everyone needs go-to people so starting to cultivate those relationships early will only benefit you.


Take time each day and at the end of the week to reflect on what you have learned, what you still need to know, the things that went well and things that could be even better. Cultivate this as a habit. By organising your thoughts at the end of your day, it can help you establish healthy boundaries between work and home life and create a clear separation between the two. It can also help you think about your priorities for the next day and minimises forgetting important details.

Have an eye on the future

It’s never too early to start thinking about what comes next, even if you are about to start something new. Look for opportunities to learn, develop and progress. Does your organisation offer opportunities to study? Often you can look to fit in part time learning from a degree, masters to apprenticeship opportunities. If that isn’t offered, you could look to do it yourself because expanding your skill set and learning is never wasted time.

If you are a job seeker or someone looking to boost their career, then WeAreTheCity has thousands of free career-related articles. From interview tips, CV advice to training and working from home, you can find all our career advice articles here.

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