What I learnt in my first year out of Uni

What I learnt in my first year out of Uni


by Kirstie Fitzpatrick, CSU Alumni 

Around one year ago, I was getting ready to walk into a new chapter of my life… page one included a big stage, a strange hat and a brand-new bachelor’s degree in my hand!

The past year has been a great learning curve. I’ve experienced some exciting career milestones – including a mini promotion and developing a brand new book of contacts. But, I’ve also faced the challenges of transitioning from a student to an industry professional and dealing with sometimes tricky workplace relations.

It’s difficult to imagine where you’ll be just one year after becoming qualified, so here’s some advice on what to expect in your ‘freshman year of life.’

9 to 5? What’s that?

For those of you lucky enough to score a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job straight out of Uni, tell us your secret! Your first industry job after your graduate might be casual, part-time, involve working nights or early mornings, or mean your weekends are spent in the office rather than at the beach. Topsy turvy hours have both pros and cons – if you can excel in your career by jumping up early or going to work on a Saturday, it’s worth it.

You won’t always receive responses from job applications:

This is particularly the case when you apply online. Note down the name and details of the job contact and take the initiative to follow up shortly after the application closing date. Keep your name in the minds of the potential employer and show them you’re keen. If they’ve already hired, let them know your skills and ask to be notified when another position become available. You never know when your skills and experience may be needed!

Jump in the deep end:

If you’re not sure where your skills fit, ask to be thrown in by someone who does. Jumping in the deep end is one of the most rewarding things you can do at the start of your career. Why? Because it breaks the ice, builds your confidence and shows your new boss or your internship coordinator that you’re willing to learn.

Be flexible with what you’ve learnt:

University is a wonderful stepping stone into life as a professional, but not all work environments will operate the way your textbooks did. As a journalist, university taught me all about standard style guides, news values and spelling and grammar, but when I started my first job in the industry, a booklet explaining a new way of working landed on my desk. Use your knowledge as a foundation and build each new thing you learn on to it. After all, it’s better to know two ways of doing something, that just the one.

Workplace relations are tricky:

Be prepared to handle tricky workplace relations – like navigating annual leave, difficult co-workers or how to bring up payroll issues with your boss. My advice for dealing with workplace relations and making the most out of your first year in the job: keep smiling, ask when you need help, and take your holidays! We all need a break from time to time.

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