startingyourcareerYou’ve finished your degree and are about to start your career. This is a super exciting time, but like all big life changes, there are challenges, hurdles and adjustments that come with the adventure of moving from study to the workforce.

Settling in

Expect the first few weeks of your job to be exhausting. There will be a mass of information to absorb. Just a few examples include:

  • The names and positions of all your new colleagues
  • The layout of your workplace
  • Loads of details about the organisation
  • Even more about your position

Your head might start to spin! It’s good to remember that feeling overwhelmed is normal. It will pass. Don’t expect to understand everything immediately – it will take time to put all the pieces of the jigsaw together. Try to remember people’s names, roles and positions and take notes as much as you can. The most important point to remember is weeks will go quickly and every single week you will feel more and more comfortable.

Most organisations have orientation events and programs set up for incoming graduate recruits, so make the most of what is on offer. In addition, you should:

The second phase

After a few months you’ll have started to settle in. Now’s a great time to look for Professional Development (PD) opportunities. Make a habit of this to really boost your career journey. Discuss with your supervisor any PD you think would be worthwhile: you’ll need their permission and they’ll be impressed by your initiative. Networking beyond the organisation is also important to further your developing career.

Tops tips for a brilliant career

  • Communicate: Ask questions, listen carefully, be clear on what is expected of you and don’t be afraid to say when you’re unsure about something.
  • Don’t gossip and be careful with your emails. Sometimes our emails do not reflect our true intent. Remember to put yourself in the position of the reader.
  • Treat all your colleagues with respect and courtesy. Avoid behaviour that draws negative attention.
  • Show commitment to your team and enthusiasm for team goals.
  • Recognise and acknowledge the achievements of others.
  • Mistakes are opportunities to learn and everyone makes them. Own up to them.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities, such as staff sporting groups or social committees.
  • Only claim credit for your own work and don’t expect or demand constant praise.
  • Say ‘thank you’. It’s so simple, but it can make a real difference in your work relationships.
  • Balance your own expectations against those of your employer. By all means show initiative, but show that you can do what the employer wants first.


Life is full of transitions. Remember your first weeks at university? You succeeded in that transition so you’ll succeed with this one. Establishing a career can be an extremely exciting and rewarding stage of your life, so enjoy!

Modified from a piece written by Pauline Brown, Careers Consultant, University of Melbourne.