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What you need to know in your first office job

What you need to know in your first office job

8 months ago By Chris Evans
First job tips

It can be intimidating starting your first job in an office environment. I’ve put together some tips to help get you through. These are the things I wish I’d known when I’d started my first office job.

Ground rules

Before we get into detail, we’ve got some ground rules. While these might seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how much these rules get broken. These are things you must get right, or you will run into issues.

  1. Don’t swear
  2. Don’t chew gum
  3. Don’t take personal calls or use personal social media
  4. Don’t visit any inappropriate websites on your devices
  5. Find out the dress policy and dress accordingly – some offices will be quite casual, and you’ll be expected to wear jeans and sneakers. In others, a suit might be the norm – you just need to check and stick to the rules
  6. Don’t be late – and if you are going to be late, follow the procedures and let someone know
  7. Don’t leave early – unless you’ve arranged it with your line manager
  8. If you’re ill, follow the procedures and let the right people know. You might need to visit a pharmacist or a GP if you’re off for a long time – again, check your work place’s procedures.
  9. Take your allocated lunch period – it’s important to get a break. Don’t be late back, though – see the earlier dot point about being late if you are.
  10. Listen and follow instructions carefully

Know your role

When you first start, everything will be overwhelming. There will be lots of information to absorb. Make sure you pay attention to what you’re expected to do, and watch how others across the business interact. You will quickly get an idea of who arranges meetings, who to go to if you have questions, and who you will be working with on a day-to-day basis.

After a few months, you will have a clear picture of your role. If you have any good ideas for how you can change or improve things, you’ll be able to suggest them with confidence.

Learn how to write professional emails

This is so important. Emails are a core part of any office job – whether you’re working with your colleagues, arranging meetings or communicating with people outside your organization.

Top tips for writing professional emails

  • Don’t be abrupt – make sure you are polite and ask for things in a considerate way.
  • Cut out the emoji’s and exclamation points – remember this is a professional email. Try to avoid acronyms like LOL too – and don’t sign off with ‘xx’. It is also good to avoid memes – especially those that could be seen as inappropriate. Write as you would speak to a colleague.
  • Check your spelling and grammar – there are tools built in to most email providers to check this sort of thing. It is essential to being taken seriously. If it’s a really important email you could even get a trusted colleague to give it a quick check before you send it.
  • Use ‘Kind regards’ (or something similar) at the end of your emails, and don’t shorten it to ‘regards’ – it could come across as angry or rude.
  • If you write a good email, or you write a similar email often, save it as a template so you can save time.
  • Do not write emails complaining about colleagues – you don’t know where these might end up.
  • Create a ‘happy’ folder – if you get good feedback about your work, file these emails in here. It can help boost your confidence, and it can help when it comes to your end of year review.

Build rapport with your new colleagues

Say good morning!

This is such an easy win. If you greet your colleagues with a smile every morning you will easily build rapport.

Check in with weekend plans

On a Monday, you could ask about how someone’s weekend was, or on Friday ask what they’ve got planned. Again – it’s easy to do, but could make a big difference to your colleagues.

Treat everyone the same

Speak to everyone – from the director to the cleaner. And treat them all with respect. Being cliquey is not professional – and could leave either you or a colleague feeling very left out.

Your effort will pay off! At least you will be building warm working relationships with your colleagues – and you could make life-long friends.

Ask for help if you need it

This can be a tough one to learn – but it’s okay to ask for help! Whether you are stuck on a piece of work, are wondering where to find a policy or don’t know what people do on pay day drinks – ask someone. Everyone has been in your shoes, and any reasonable colleague will want to help.

The other situation that it is important to ask for help in is if you are having a problem with a colleague. Sometimes you will find a colleague that you don’t get along with – your line manager or a trusted colleague might be able to give you tips on working better with them.

Sadly, sometimes you might experience bullying or harassment at work. It is very important to raise this with your line manager, or a person in HR. Speaking up about this behavior can help you feel better right away. It should also set wheels in motion to fix the situation. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Enjoy it!

You’ve done really well to get your first office job – embrace this opportunity. After job hunting, interviewing and waiting, you have secured this chance for yourself. Look around you and learn and listen. This is the start of your career!

What next?

Are you looking for your first office role? Or perhaps you are looking to take your next step in your career? Connect with me today, or try searching our current opportunities.

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