5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your First Job

Classrooms Team

Jun 30, 2021
first job mistakes to avoid

We are a reader-supported education publication. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission to help us keep providing content.

This guest post was written by Marcia Windsor Waite.

Starting a new job can be pretty daunting, especially if you are still a student or a recent graduate with no previous experience of working. Whether it’s an internship, a part-time job or a full-time job, it can be a big change. And like anything in life, there are mistakes that can be made. We have therefore put this article together to try and help you reduce the number of mistakes you make during your first job. 

Too much after-hours social drinking

While drinking may play a large part in your university life, your ability to down pints isn’t considered such a desirable thing when it comes to starting your new job. Whether it is a quick pint on a Friday afternoon, colleagues leaving drinks or the work Christmas party, take it steady.  Avoid being the one who everyone was talking about for the following weeks for a bad reason. 

While booze may pay a large part in university life, your ability to down pints isn’t considered such a desirable thing when you start working. Whether it’s a swift trip to the pub on a Friday lunchtime, a leaving drink or an office party, take it steady. You don’t want to be the person everyone is talking about the following day for a bad reason.

It is also extremely important to avoid turning up to shifts hungover and smelling of booze. Although you might be working alongside your studies and still crave that student life it is important you keep your professional job professional. 

Using your phone 

Smartphones are great at keeping you in contact with everyone and they mean people can contact you and get hold of you at any time of the day. However, phones are also a huge distraction with notifications constantly pinging off. 

Of course, you can still check your phone but keep it to short periods of time and not every 5 minutes. Take a look around your workplace, how often are other colleagues checking their phones.

Avoiding confrontation

When you start a new job there are bound to be times where you don’t quite know how to do something you’ve been asked to do. Or worse, you make a mistake and you don’t know how to fix it. These are all parts of a new job, you need to learn to admit when you are stuck or when you have made a mistake your colleagues will be able to help you. 

If you have started a completely new job your boss also shouldn’t expect you to know everything. But they will judge you on how you handle mistakes once you have made them. Owning up to your errors will increase your credibility and help you with your success in the company. 

Knowing it all 

If you have done well at university, and I’m sure you have! You might have left university with a certain level of confidence and faith in your abilities. And that is great! However, when starting a new job you might notice ways that things can be approved. 

However, before you suggest these changes pause for a moment as there is probably a reason why these changes haven’t been made. It might be that the knowledge that you have learnt during your university lecture actually doesn’t work that well in real life. Either way, it is important that when you make suggestions you do it in the right manner so it doesn’t come across wrong. 

Leaving on time 

Work will have a lot less respect for the end of the day compared to your university lecturers. Although your working day might “finish” at 5, most people will linger in the office to make sure they have finished their tasks or to make a start on their tasks for tomorrow. Play it by ear and watch what your employees do before walking out of the door at dead on 5. 

And if there is a deadline approaching or a project that needs some extra hours put in? See if there is any way that you can help out. One of the easiest ways to make a good name for yourself is showing the willingness to help others when pressures start to increase and being proactive. 

Remember — be professional 

When starting your new job it is important that you come across as professional, turn up looking smart, be punctual, speak professionally in the workplace and make work one of your priorities. Although you’ll probably get some leeway as a newbie, proving they have made the right decision will likely serve you better in the long term. 

If you are still looking for a job be sure to check out StudentJob, they also have a variety of useful blogs and a Free CV Maker to help make your search that little bit easier. Good luck! 

Thanks, Marcia!

Written By