Advice for young people embarking on their first job

You may have spent hours perfecting your CV, sweated your way through the job interview and had a nervous wait to find out if you were successful or not, but finally, the day dawns where you are due to start your first ever job since leaving school.

It goes without saying that you need to be punctual, not just for the first day, but every day. It doesn’t mean arriving at 8.58am for a 9am start! Make sure you arrive at least 10 minutes before you are officially due to start work, giving you a chance to freshen up, maybe make a cup of tea and, at least say a friendly hello to new work colleagues. If you rely on public transport to get yourself to work, it is not good enough to say that your bus or train arrives late most days. If this is the case, catch an earlier service.

Make sure you dress appropriately for whatever job you take on. Asking about appropriate dress is a good question for candidates to ask at interview. If you didn’t think to ask this question, then err on the side of caution. If you have a job which is likely to insist on smart dress, then make sure you dress conservatively. The trick is to see what other people are wearing and follow suit. Certain companies may request that visible tattoos are covered for work so you may need to wear long sleeves and a shirt or blouse with a collar.

There will be a lot to learn when you first start a new job and you won’t be expected to know it all by the end of your first day. Pay attention to what you are told and,if you need to, check to assure yourself that you understand the task in hand and then do it properly. Be respectful to work colleagues and customers and you are well advised to avoid getting caught up in office gossip or talking about your boss behind his or her back.

Make sure you are punctual when you return after tea breaks or lunch and, although you may only be paid until 5pm, it won’t look good if you are seen with your coat on ready to leave on the dot. Spend a few minutes tidying your desk, or organising your task in hand so you know where to start the next day and saying goodbye to the people you have been working with.

Finally, unless you really are genuinely so ill that you cannot go to work, it does not look good if you take days off for a sniffle or a mild headache. It may sound harsh but you have joined the world of work now and you will need to “man up” for minor ailments, especially during your first 3 to 6 months of working, when your employers are still finding out about you.