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Seven mistakes to avoid in your first job

06 Jul


Mistakes are par for the course when it comes to your first few weeks in a new job, and any good employer will be patient and understanding as you encounter questions along the way. However, there are a multitude of traps you want to avoid falling into as you embark on your brand new career, some of which can damage your professional reputation and potentially even threaten your job.

Follow our expert guide and steer clear of the following common first job mistakes.

Not socialising enough

Being friendly with your co-workers isn’t just good for your office morale. Close work friendships are also proven to boost employee satisfaction by 50%, according to Gallup, showing that socialising with people you work with can have a variety of perks. If your company organises events or after-work drinks, make the effort to attend at least some of them. A failure to turn up can make you seem like you’re not a team player, and you can always go home early if you’re not up to it.

Avoiding asking for help

While it’s great to be eager to get started in your work, it’s important not to act like you know it all. Not only can this make you seem arrogant, but it may also lead to you missing vital parts of your training and making mistakes further down the track.

Make the most of your first few weeks in a new workplace by asking how to do things and what people’s expectations are of you. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if someone’s explanation doesn’t make sense to you – it’s better to get it right in the early days, and no one will begrudge you for asking questions.

Not seeking development opportunities

Yes, it’s your first job and you may feel very fresh, young and new to the working world. But that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage your first position to help further your career. Millennials value career growth and development opportunities even more than the previous generation, and this is no less important in your first job than those that come further down the line. Ask for opportunities to learn new skills, put your hand up for new challenges and always look for ways to add to your knowledge base. Your manager should provide you with a development plan and clear goals, but if not, ask for one!

Responding badly to constructive criticism

Any professional person will make mistakes on the job, regardless of their experience level. How you respond to the fallout from your mistakes will make all the difference in helping to shape your career.

When you receive constructive criticism in the workplace, always think of it as an opportunity to learn and develop. You should also remember that it shows your managers and peers are interested in and committed to your performance and progress in the workplace – and that can only be a good thing.

Covering up mistakes

While your team and manager won’t expect you to immediately be perfect in your new role, they will expect you to admit your mistakes. If you knowingly let an error slip through, hoping no one will notice it, you risk not only bringing yourself into disrepute, but potentially your business as well. The best plan of attack is to bring your manager a solution when you tell them what has happened. You’ll be seen as a proactive problem-solver who isn’t afraid to admit when they’ve made an error.

Getting involved in office gossip

No matter how harmonious the workplace and how happy your colleagues are, there are always instances of gossip and inter-team issues that can initially seem exciting for a new recruit. However, a third of UK workers cite office politics as a major factor in feeling unhappy at work, so it pays to avoid getting involved as much as possible. There’s a fine line between befriending your colleagues and contributing to gossip or ‘politics’ – find the balance and you’ll enjoy a more harmonious office environment.

Spending too much time on your phone

There can be numerous distractions in the workplace, but none are more costly than social media, according to Learn Stuff. Workers checking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter cost the US economy a whopping $650 billion per year. Your employer wants you focused on your work, not your phone – save your social checks for your break.

If you’re ready to start looking for your first role, we might have the perfect opportunity for you. We offer a range of apprenticeships to help people kickstart their career in their chosen industry. See more here.
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