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Fast five: Unspoken graduate rules

Fast five: Unspoken graduate rules

After countless hours of studying and sacrificing, finishing university is a pretty great feeling. However, for most graduates, the end of tertiary education merely marks the beginning of full-time work, at least for those fortunate enough to secure a job.

The upsides are obvious – financial security and kickstarting your career journey – but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily going to be all smooth sailing. Fortunately, we’ve racked our brains and come up with five unspoken rules for graduates so you can navigate your first entry-level job.

Don’t try to do too much

This isn’t meant to deter you from pulling your weight, rather to encourage new workers to make sure they are fulfilling their role within the company before they start trying to take on additional responsibilities. It’s good to show incentive and a willingness to go above and beyond, but not at the expense of your own duties.

Nobody cares more about your career than you do

In the lead up to graduating, and certainly in the aftermath, most students are thinking of nothing but their career prospects. Will I get a job? Where would I like to work? What kind of role? How much will I make first year out? The reality is, once you are filling a role within an organisation, your career goals are not going to be at the forefront of your colleagues’ minds, and it’s wise to remember this.

Feedback is not automatic

Unlike university, you will not be receiving regular feedback on every task you complete. Managers will have their hand full with various other responsibilities and thus will not be watching every move you make. If you want to find out where you stand, don’t simply ask “how am I going?” Instead, identify specific areas and get suggestions about how you are tracking and where there is room for improvement.

Attention to detail is crucial

The difference between university and the professional workforce is substantial when it comes to attention to detail. A spelling error in a 2,000-word essay might not have been a massive deal but the same mistake in an email to a client can suggest laziness and a lack of professionalism. No matter how trivial the task may seem, getting the details right can separate the good graduates from the average ones.

You will need to work out some stuff yourself

You will be surrounded by colleagues and managers with an abundance of responsibilities, not tutors and lecturers whose primary job it is to provide you with information and advice. You will be required to identify what skills you will need to learn, to initiate and build relationships, and to make decisions where the fallout is your responsibility. 

Useful links:

Andrew Andrew - Certificate III in Carpentry
Australia's Australia's best graduate programs
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