How can I impress in my first job?

If you’ve never had a job before, it can be quite a shock to the system getting to know what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to act. Everybody knows first impressions count, and when you begin work you have an excellent – but also vital – window of opportunity. It’s a chance to start off on the right foot and build from there, whereas a negative start can be difficult to shake off.

When you start a new job most people will give you the benefit of the doubt, so mistakes and honest misunderstanding will be acceptable up to a point.

Most of your co-workers will also remember their first days only too well. Given this readymade goodwill, the trick is not to take it for granted, or abuse it. Go in with the wrong attitude and you’ll build up almost unshakable resentment – even unreasonable resentment.

Here are few tips for getting it right:
Be punctual and presentable
Once you settle in you can go with the flow on punctuality, dress sense and language. On your first day you need to be acting almost as you did in your interview. Creating a good impression and not looking like you don’t want to be there.

Don’t try too hard
If you’re the confident type you might want to try and impress your new workmates by being pushy or sharing your ideas openly. Try not to do this; you’ll have time later on and you won’t be expected to come into a new situation and have all the answers.

Ask questions
If you’re given a job, do it as well as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Better to ask a question than sit silently hoping that what you need to know will turn up.

Get a notepad
Even if you have to quietly write down people’s names, do it on a notepad – it helps you break through the communication barrier. It also avoids you having to ask someone else: “what’s that person’s name I was just talking to?” You can also jot down any other rules and ways of doing things so that you’re not blundering along and making obvious bad moves.

All of your new colleagues will be busy doing their own jobs. Sometimes you may feel neglected or under used. There’s no harm in asking for a job or volunteering to do something for somebody. You may be new, but your offer will go down well and put you in some small measure of control in your new surroundings.

Generally, you’re looking to be positive and start with small wins. You don’t need to come in with all guns blazing. Let your work and your attitude speak for you. After a few weeks, you’ll have built up enough confidence and goodwill to be yourself.

Be part of the team
Let your enthusiasm for being part of the team and the organisation show to everyone you interact with. Being a part of the set up means you want to be there and like the people you’re working with.

You are now part of a work team, and teams work together to solve problems and get the job done. That said, on your first day, you should never try to guess the group or team culture. You need to find this out slowly.

Remember, it is your willingness to be part of the team, rather than your attempts to be part of the team, that counts.

Dressing the part
On your first day it pays to look smart. Casual dress codes are often the norm, but on your first day if you walk in looking too casual it suggests you are not taking your situation seriously.

You can dress down – or to fit the workplace style – later on. Whilst looking smart means efficient and reliable, too casual means disorganised and uncaring.

Most workers know that this is not necessarily true – but, remember, it’s still all about first impressions – and you won’t have had a chance to let everyone know how efficient you are by your actions alone. That’s why you need to look smart and professional on you big day one.

The end of the day one
You’ve made a good impression. You’ve been positive and helpful. So don’t go and ruin it all by rushing to get away before everyone else.

Keep remembering that there are subtle rules about who can leave first and why. If everyone is working late or on a difficult time-consuming job, they may not want to stay late either.

In this case, the very least you can do is to make sure you are available to do something or help somebody, right up until leaving time.

Disappearing on time, unless you been told you can go, is not creating a good impression – worse, it’s creating the wrong impression.

And finally
As a general rule for your first day, don’t stiffen up and be fearful. You might find that you’re scowling or not smiling because you are afraid or feel intimidated. Don’t worry: You’ll meet lots of new faces, but most people will recognise you for what you are and be helpful.

The office politics also need not concern you; you are a newcomer. It’s unlikely you’ll be treated to any adverse remarks about the company or its people, and any you may hear, you need not comment on.

On day one, you are very much a guest. Take any advice you can get and don’t offer too many opinions. It’s also a good idea not to make personal phone calls or disappear for a long lunch break. You’re subtly being looked at and commented on even though you don’t realise it. Making a phone call to a friend for half an hour will be remembered, even if you think nobody is paying you any attention. People at work don’t always tell you what you are doing wrong.

Having said all of the above, you should still enjoy your first day. Goodwill is on your side. You are new and fresh and an unknown quantity. There is everything to play for and if you aren’t afraid, and you aim to be positive, you’ll be a winner without even having to do too much.

Article courtesy of:

Why building your own brand can be the key to your career’s survival

When you live in the world of employment, you’ll naturally worry about your job. Will it still be there 12 months from now? Or will you find yourself out on the lonely, tiresome road of unemployment? Will someone even hire you again?

If you lie awake at night, worrying about the unknown, then let me reveal one of the best survival secrets for your career – and that’s building your own brand. Not to say you need to be paranoid or anything; just that you need to be prepared should anything suddenly change. The following five tips for building ‘brand you’ will ensure your survival:

1. Have a career plan in mind

How can you know where you’re heading, if you have no idea what you want to do next? Sometimes it isn’t so obvious, but we should all have a career path in mind. If you were to lose your job tomorrow, what would you do next? If it’s promotion you’re after, then what are the next steps?

Write down what you want to do and figure out how to get there. Consider whether you’re able to achieve your goals at your current job or be pro-active and seek new employment to move forward. Have a think about whether you want to go freelance, work for another agency or go in-house. Don’t wait for your employer to let you go or become stale in your job; always be considering your next move.

2. Network and build contacts

It’s all too easy to become lazy and complacent when you’ve got your full-time job, but networking should really stay at the top of your priorities. You’ve got to keep your name out there to ensure people know who you are and what you’re doing. Don’t assume things will stay as they are; always be looking for your next step and understand the importance of building a solid network.

Find relevant events, talks, workshops, conferences, art gallery launches and exhibitions on your own doorstep – and be the face that people come to recognise. Smile, be engaging and be more interested in what others have to say, rather than taking the opportunity to talk endlessly about yourself.

Arm yourself with business cards – not to willingly dish out; just in case anyone asks for your contact details. And get your personal pitch right – know how to sum up who you are and what you do in a few concise sentences. Don’t mumble; be bold and confident. You have skills and experience, even if you’ve just graduated. Never assume you don’t belong – if you’re young, you’ll be considered exciting and fresh, full of energy and bursting with new ideas; if you’re older, then you’ll have experience on your side and offer a different perspective.

Remember, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know – so become friends with those who are well connected. Don’t just stick to your own creative field either; branch out and seek new horizons. Is there anyone whose work you admire? Tweet them and ask if they’ll let you take them out for a coffee to pick their brains. I’ve been asked to do this quite a few times, and it’s lovely to be able to offer some advice.

3. Build an audience

If you really want to protect yourself and your career, then having an audience can be a powerful weapon. For example, if you’ve got 10,000 Twitter followers and people love what you do, then an employer is less likely to mess you around and forget about you aren’t they? And if you’re applying for another job? Then your reach and influence will only impress.

Let’s face it, in today’s digital world, nothing endorses someone more than having a strong online presence and a loyal social following. My own presence via Creative Boom opens up a world of opportunity for me, and yes, ok – I’ve been building my own audience for seven years, but I started from scratch and was patient. We all have to start somewhere.

However, 2009 was a different world. Today, there are new channels one should explore to quickly build an audience. For instance, those who are really making a name for themselves right now are on blogging platforms such as Medium. Yes, it takes time and effort to write eloquent thoughts about your work and your industry, but it will be worth the investment. Besides, if you haven’t published any of your own content, what have you got to talk about via your other digital channels?

4. Launch a side project

Jane Bowyer is a talented Manchester-based illustrator and designer who has recently gone freelance. She left full-time employment in February to venture out on her own, and so far, so good. However, Jane makes her own luck. She is the perfect example of someone who understands the importance of building your own brand, even when everything seems to be going well.

This month, she has curated Women In Print, an exhibition to celebrate iconic women who’ve contributed to Manchester. Bringing together sixteen local artists and designers, Jane’s side project has been a huge success with all proceeds going to local women’s charities.

What can you do to get your name out there, make friends and influence people, and demonstrate that you are willing to go the extra mile to do something amazing and off your own back?

Employers and clients alike will always be impressed by those who lead extraordinary careers. In this day and age, when the jobs market is a risky place and graduates are fighting for the same positions, it’s crucial to do something more to stand out.

Ok, you don’t have to launch an exhibition but how about keeping your online portfolio fresh with self-initiated projects, such as rebrands if you’re a designer – or how about demonstrating your copywriting skills with your own blog? There really is no excuse.

5. Keep your CV and online portfolios updated, and market yourself

If you’re getting your name out there, networking with people and joining in with online conversation, you need to have all of your personal profiles, bios, online portfolios/websites – as well as your CV – completely up-to-date, and showcasing the very best of you right now.

Don’t annoy people with a lack of information; be forthright with your skills and expertise, and include background on who you’ve worked with, where you’ve been and where you’re heading. You never know who might want to look you up and discover more.

And finally, last but not least, push yourself and your work out there. Get savvy with Instagram, join networks like Behance or Tumblr, and understand the benefits of marketing. You don’t have to go mad; just an hour every day to focus on ‘Brand You’ will suffice. Take Yinka Ilori as a great example. He isn’t shy about sharing pictures of his beautiful upcycled furniture or shots of himself posing alongside his work. He understands the different requirements of Twitter, as opposed to Instagram, and he ‘gets’ how PR works. As a result, he’s everywhere at the moment and in demand, with an exciting installation in store at London Design Festival’s Design Undefined. Watch this space!

To conclude, if you’re worried about your job and what might go wrong; be proactive and develop your own brand. Don’t feel helpless because you’re definitely in control – more than you realise. It’s simply a case of protecting your future by raising your reputation, networking and building an audience. You do that, and your career will certainly go the distance.

Article courtesy of

7 Job Hunting Lessons Graduates can Learn from Pokémon GO

Well, it’s official, Pokémon IS BACK!

Pokémon GO, the new augmented reality game that brings Pokémon into the real world, seems to be inspiring some pretty strong reactions across the globe. When it comes to Pokémon GO, it looks like there are two teams.

Team Hater: These guys don’t see what all the fuss is about and most definitely have no intention of catching ’em all. They’ve been known to have a tendency to post party-pooping memes on Facebook and leave passive aggressive notes in public places to let everyone know just how stupid they think the whole thing is.

Team Hunter: They still have all of their Pokémon cards (arranged by type and then evolution, of course), nearly cried with sheer glee when the app got released and hunting Pokémon has now become an everyday necessity. They’ve been known to walk/skip down the street, phone in hand, shamelessly (and repeatedly) singing the Pokémon theme tune out loud.

Love it or loathe it, Pokémon GO appears to be here to stay and while it clearly has its drawbacks (more staring at phones and people falling off the odd cliff or quitting their jobs to become Pokémon Masters), it has its benefits, too! The phenomenon has the power to get people off the sofa and out into the open, the app is now more popular than Tinder and it’s even managed to quash Bieber Fever; Justin himself managed a little Poké-hunting in New York without being mobbed by fans (all of which were far too busy trying to catch a Gyarados to notice the pop star).

It could even be said that Pokémon GO can teach us a thing or two, and with graduation season upon us, new grads will be doing some hunting of their own; looking for a graduate job. So, what lessons can graduates learn about the job hunt from Pokémon GO?

You need to put in those miles

If you take a stroll around your back garden, you’re unlikely to catch anything more than a measly Weedle. You need to put in the time and effort walking around and exploring the outdoors if you really want to fill up your Pokédex. The same goes for the job hunt, if you only dedicate a couple of hours to it a week, and don’t send out as many applications, then you could be missing out on the chance to catch something great!

To be a Pokémon Master, you need to level up

You need to train your Pokémon at a Gym. To be able to use a Gym, you need to be at least Level 5. To level up, you need to boost your XP. To be the best, you need to keep levelling up. Do you see where we’re going with this? To make sure that you’re the super candidate that employers want to launch their Pokéballs at, you need to improve and expand your skill set. Also, the higher the CP, the harder the Pokémon is to catch – if you want to net the very best opportunity, you need to show them that you’re ready!

Don’t forget to use your Incense

Few things in Pokémon GO are better than using your Incense and seeing all the Pokémon flock toward you. Imagine if that was the case when job hunting? You need to lure potential employers in at every possible opportunity!

Make sure that your CV really sells your transferable skills, experience and abilities.
Have a professional social media presence (including a great, complete LinkedIn profile)
Tailor your responses in application forms and interviews to showcase your knowledge of the company/industry.
These are the things that will make you stand out from other job hunters and increase your chances.

In a world of Rattatas, you’ll find that Pikachu

In your quest to be the very best (like no one ever was), you might have to catch a few Pidgeys and Rattatas along the way. It’s not ideal, but it can really boost your XP and earn you some medals. It’s unrealistic to think that you’ll stroll out of university and walk straight into your dream job. Yes, for some lucky Bulbasaurs, this can happen, but you need to be patient. Whether it takes a while of job hunting, or building your experience and working your way up, work hard and you’ll find yourself where you want to be. That Pikachu is out there somewhere, just bide your time, enjoy your journey and boost your abilities along the way.

Sometimes that elusive Electabuzz can get away

You hunted it for what seems like miles, you have it right there in front of you, you launch that Pokéball and as you think you’re about to make the catch… It runs away. NOOOOO! Job hunting can feel a little like that, too: your application was successful, you dazzled them at the interview stages, but for some reason you still find that rejection email waiting for you in your inbox. Sadly it happens, so don’t get disheartened; try to see every setback as a server crash, you won’t be able to catch Pokémon right now, but you’ll back up and running in no time – just learn from the experience and keep at it!

Even a Magikarp can evolve

Oh, great – another Magikarp. But you won’t be so glum if it evolves into a mighty Gyarados! A seemingly unimpressive Pokémon can soon turn into something that’s pretty hard to beat. Graduates can often feel like little fish in a big pond, and standing out doesn’t always seem easy to do. Sometimes all you need to do is realise that your CP is higher than you think or that you aren’t a Charmander, you’re a Charizard! University, any work experience and extra curricular activities you’ve participated in throughout your education have all contributed to your skill set. Taking the time to identify your strengths and weaknesses, then committing the time to improve them will surely lead to your professional evolution.

Gotta catch ’em all!

You may be on the trail of a newly spawned Mewtwo, but don’t discount all the other Pokémon around you – you never know when another Pokémon hunter might beat you to it! What we’re trying to say is don’t put all of your Exeggutes in one basket; you may have your heart set on a particular role but, even if things seem to be progressing well, keep applying to other roles until you know the job is yours. That way, if things fall through, you’ll have something else in the pipeline. And we’ll stress what we said before: apply, apply, apply! The more (suitable) roles you apply for, the better chance you have of netting the job!

Grads, the idea of hunting for your first job after university can feel a bit like fighting a Raichu with a Diglet, but bear these lessons in mind and you’ll be able to track down a new job like a Master.

Happy job (and Pokémon) hunting!

How to calm your nerves blue

How to calm your nerves in an interview

When the nerves kick-in so do the sweaty hands, thumping heart and dry mouth. None of these are very helpful when you need to perform well, so it is important to know how to calm your nerves.

How to calm your nerves blue

We all get nervous about various situations throughout our lives and, unfortunately, our nerves often have a negative impact on how we perform. In your career, you may feel nervous before an interview, making a pitch/presentation, or prior to a particularly important meeting. Whatever situation your nerves may be affecting, there are a few techniques that you can use to combat them.

1. Ensure that you feel prepared

Feeling unprepared is often what can cause us to be nervous in the first place. If you conduct proper research and ensure that you know your stuff then you will instantly feel more confident.

2. Get a good night’s sleep

You want to feel alert for the nerve-wracking event so it is important to have a quiet evening in and a good night’s sleep the day before. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but if you feel prepared the night before then you are more likely to be able to switch off your brain and get that all-important sleep.

3. Plan ahead

If there is any travelling involved then ensure that you know exactly where you are going and leave some time for any delays. The last thing you want is to get lost or be late as this will make you stressed out and even more nervous than you would have been.

4. Try deep breathing techniques

Take a few moments beforehand to breathe in through your nose (recommended for four counts) and then out through your nose (recommended for five counts) to feel calmer.

5. Think positive

Thinking and feeling positive can make a big difference to our performance. To help you feel positive, try visualising yourself being successful.

6. Adjust your posture

Standing up or adopting “power poses” can make you feel more confident. When meeting someone new, that first impression is important so stay standing rather than having to struggle out of a chair. You should be on the same level as the person you are meeting as this will make you look confident.

7. Get any shaking limbs under control

It is pretty annoying when you are trying to appear confident but your traitorous hands are giving you away by shaking. To stop this from happening, try squeezing your buttocks or thigh muscles as this actually makes it impossible for your hands to shake!

8. Be yourself

It is important to be yourself and relax into the situation. Speak how you would normally and act naturally as this will make you come across as relaxed and confident.

These techniques will show you how to calm your nerves and perform at your best, so give them a try and see if they help you to be successful!

Article courtesy of Recruitment Buzz