10 tips to succeed in your first job

So you’ve just got your first job – congratulations! But are you ready for the challenges of your new full-time working life? Here are 10 tips for standing out in your first job.

1. Introduce yourself to everybody

From your first day of work, don’t hesitate to say hello to all the new colleagues you meet in the lift, the toilets or in the lobby. Don’t be shy because your shyness could be misinterpreted as arrogance, which is not the best situation to start a professional career!

2. Become friend with an experimented colleague who will help you to understand the workplace culture

As soon as you can, identify the strategic persons, those who have been working in the company for a long time but are not necessarily close to retirement. Find the “veteran” who will help you to understand the workplace culture and to whom you will be able to ask all kinds of questions without shame. Asking your boss where the copy machine is or how the coffee machine works is not exactly the right way to demonstrate your skills.

3. Define the expectations of your boss and colleagues

Request a one-on-one meeting with your direct supervisor and define with him what he expects from you for the next coming weeks and months. If you are a manager, set your expectations with your team. The first impression is always the one that counts. So set the tone from the start.

4. Learn the unwritten rules of the workplace

Always respect the unwritten rules of the workplace if you don’t want to make your colleagues angry. Who washes the dishes? Are they shelves for common use? Which mug can I use? If you don’t know the answer, observe how your colleagues do and don’t hesitate to ask.

5. Keep record of all your successes

Practice as soon as possible the skills you have showcased during your job interview. Develop from the start the good habits of keeping record of all the work you have done, your most significant contributions and the positive comments you have received. All this information will be useful when your skills will be evaluated and when you will have to negotiate your salary.

6. Get organised and manage your time

During the first weeks, you have to manage an important flow of information. To face it, get organised and learn to manage more efficiently your time. Otherwise you will lose your efficiency very quickly.

7. Strengthen relationships with your new colleagues on social media

Once your trial period is over, update your profile on professional social media like LinkedIn and expand your network to your company and your colleagues. Twitter can be useful too. But don’t use Facebook if you want to protect your privacy. “Friending” your boss on Facebook and sharing with him your last holiday pictures won’t advance your career – far from it!

8. Find the balance between your income and your expenses 

Becoming financially autonomous by getting your first job is a wonderful sensation. But don’t lose your head and be careful. Keep your budget under control and ask yourself the right questions. Do you earn enough money to leave family home or take a bigger apartment? Is it really time to buy a car? Shouldn’t you save money for your future?

9. Analyse your salary package

When you have negotiated your salary with your employer, you have essentially considered the amount paid into your bank account. It is normal. But do you know the other parts of your salary package?

The salary package can include meal vouchers, hospital insurance, group health insurance, company car, fuel card, laptop, home Internet access and mobile. Analyse them well because you have sometimes to make a financial contribution. It is notably the case for company car, meal vouchers and group insurance.

10. Plan ahead from the start

Now that you are earning a regular income, think to protect yourself in order to support yourself financially, even during bad times. If your employer doesn’t offer you a group health insurance, it could be wise to extend the coverage under social security by getting your own health insurance policy.

Don’t forget the family insurance. As long as you lived with your parents and had no income, their family insurance covered you for damage accidentally caused to third parties. Now it is not the case anymore and you have to have your own family insurance.

And even if it seems so far from you, think now to build up a supplementary personal pension. There are several products of supplementary pension and, for each product, you will benefit from a tax advantage. Good to know for your first tax return!

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