Advice for Career & Apprenticeship SuccessPosted: 30th of September 2016 by
Having landed a job or started an apprenticeship you are probably keen to make it as successful as possible. While an apprenticeship will involve dedicated training and support there will also be a working aspect, just like in any other job. This means that the advice needed to succeed is similar, with much of it being based on common sense (“don’t be late!”). Despite this, it is all too easy to fall into bad habits or slacken off in your approach to work or your apprenticeship. Therefore, it is worth reminding yourself of a few basic truths, as well as maybe picking up some extra tips, on how to be a success in your career or apprenticeship:
- Compose Yourself
Before you walk into work take a moment to compose yourself and get ready for the day ahead. What do you want to get done today? See the day starting well and walk in to your workplace smiling and confidently. Take off your headphones before you go in and put your phone away. Instead of slouching in, still in your own world, say hello to people and let it be known that they are important enough to get noticed. Not only will composing yourself set you up for the day, but being engaged and polite will also show you in a good light with your colleagues and co-workers.
- Be Organised
You should soon begin to get an idea of things that need to be done each day at work and how long they take. Organise your work so you have time set aside for larger projects, as well as staying on top of anything that needs to be done by a certain time each day. You may find that certain times of day are quieter than others – perhaps your colleagues tend to come to you with work to do first thing in the morning. Make use of the quiet times to get ahead, and try to stay ahead with your work if you can. This will give you leeway if something goes wrong and show that you are proactive. Finally, if someone asks you to do something that will only take a few minutes, do it immediately. It not only frees up your to-do list, but shows that you are dedicated and reliable.
- Don’t Be Late
We could have put this right at the top, but it is not just about being late in the morning or after lunch, but also about keeping appointments at work. Don’t be late for meetings or other appointments, instead be ready and show respect for other people’s time.
- Be On Your Best Behaviour
Make sure you are always polite and friendly at work. Saying please and thank-you should be standard, and it doesn’t hurt to wish people a great weekend or offer them congratulations on special occasions. Just be nice.
- Avoid Gossip
Part of being nice is avoiding the pitfall of joining a clique or gossiping about others. Small groups can alienate you from other employees, while gossiping will cost you trust or respect at work. After all, if you are happy to gossip about one colleague how do others know you won’t also talk about them?
- Be Happy For Others
Don’t be jealous or petty, but instead be happy for the achievements of others. You might even want to tell your boss if a colleague deserves some special praise. Being generous may seem counter-productive to those who feel the need to battle to the top, but it is far more effective in the long run.
- Blow Your Own Horn
While you are praising others you shouldn’t ever play down your own achievements. It can feel strange accepting praise, and often people will try and play their achievements down, “it was nothing,” they may say. Instead acknowledge the praise by saying thank-you – you don’t need to say sorry for being good at your job. In fact, you should ensure you get credit where it is due. Your boss may be too busy to track or notice everything you do – so make notes of your achievements and make sure to bring them up at appraisal.
- Find Solutions
Take control of situations wherever you can and find solutions rather than problems. Take ownership for your own work. This shows a positive ‘can-do’ attitude that your boss will appreciate.
- Keep Learning
It is all-too-easy to get stuck in a set way of doing things at work. While this may feel comfortable, eventually it will cause you to stagnate and lose your momentum. Embrace new ideas and try out different ways of working to see if you can improve processes at work. Take training courses to improve your skills and find a mentor, if you can, and learn from them too.
- Own Up To Your Mistakes
Don’t start blaming other people when things go wrong – they won’t thank you for it. Instead, own up to your mistakes and work out how you can stop it happening again. Get advice from others if you need it so you can learn from the mistake and move forward.
- Take A Break
It is important to take a break from time to time – especially if you feel yourself getting stressed or frustrated. Never lose your temper at work and try not to let other people see you getting flustered. Take a break and sort your head out, take some deep breaths, get a drink, or go for a walk for a moment. Also make sure you build regular breaks into your working day, reward yourself with a break when you finish a big piece of work, allowing you time to reset and get ready for the next job.
Finally, taking a break also mean taking holidays, going home on time, having lunch, and making sure you generally keep your life in balance with your work. Don’t fall into the trap of working so hard that your life starts passing you by. You may feel you are getting ahead, but actually you are missing out and risk burning out - you can only be at your best when you have proper balance.
Hannah – 1st year Apprentice Solicitor, Southampton I chose to work for WBD because of the focus they put on wellbeing, professional development...