5 tips to help you thrive in your first job 

How can you get ahead when starting a new job? Read our top tips and advice on how to kick-start your new career journey!

3rd Apr 2024

Starting your first job can be scary. It’s a mix of emotions, from excitement and anticipation to feeling overwhelmed and wondering how to get started. With any blank page, you have to start from somewhere. In this blog, Richard Odufisan, co-host of the Tales From The Plantation Podcast and former DEI Lead at Wayve, shares his thoughts on how you can get ahead when starting a new job, as well as some top tips and advice on how to kick-start your new career journey.

1. Be proactive 

Being proactive in any new role shows your willingness to make a difference right from the start. While it's important to have a solid understanding of the business and your role's top priorities, nothing is more impressive than someone who takes the initiative to get started and come up with ideas. Take the lead in familiarising yourself with company processes and procedures, seek out opportunities to contribute, and proactively communicate with colleagues to understand expectations and identify areas where you can add value.

2. Focus on your personal development

It’s important to keep learning in your new role. Every project and goal presents an opportunity to learn something new and develop your skills. If you have personal development goals you want to achieve, communicate them clearly with your manager so they know when to get you involved.

With more places embracing varying degrees of hybrid working, it is more important than ever to be proactive in looking for learning and development opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask to be invited to meetings or projects that you think might help with your growth (the worst that happens is they say no!)

3. Work on your personal brand

Starting a new career and role is the perfect opportunity to shape your personal brand. Define what sets you apart and update your online presence, like LinkedIn. Be authentic and consistent and you will have the opportunity to start to enhance your professional reputation and open up future opportunities.

Here are some first steps to get started : 

  • Think about what you want to be known for: Clearly outline your values, strengths, and areas of interest you want to talk about.
  • Choose the right platform: Select the social media channels that match your brand and target audience. You don't need to be everywhere; be selective.
  • Create content: Develop a strategy for sharing relevant and engaging posts. Have a plan to post consistently, covering a range of topics you want to focus on.
  • Engage with your network: Interact with your network and create conversations about the topics you are sharing

4. Don’t compare yourself to others

When you start something new, it's easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Thoughts like, "Why can't I be as good at this job as them?" may come into your mind. However, it's important to remember to focus on your priorities and goals. Everyone’s journey is unique, and what matters most is your progress and growth. Instead of dwelling on comparisons, channel your energy into self-improvement and achieving your objectives. 

LinkedIn and other social media platforms are going to be filled with people talking about how to quickly progress and build your salary, but remember that a career is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll need the right balance of patience and ambition to help with building a solid foundation of skills and expertise. Every task and project, no matter how small it feels at the moment, contributes to your professional development.

5. Network with people in your industry 

Networking is a skill that doesn't always come naturally to many people, and a lot of people try to avoid it altogether. However, a new career presents the ideal opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and engage with new people within your industry. By actively networking, you'll gain invaluable insights and knowledge and build meaningful relationships that can help your career progression in the long run. Expanding your professional network opens the door to potential collaborations, mentorships, and career advancements. So, take the chance to connect with others, as every interaction offers the potential for growth and opportunity.

With hybrid working often meaning there are fewer opportunities for in-person networking, each moment becomes even more valuable. Attend in-person and virtual networking events and engage with other attendees, so you can build relationships and boost your visibility to leaders, which is still important for career progression.