What To Expect For Your First Corporate Job

When we leave school, a lot of us don’t know what we want to do for the rest of our lives. But there comes a point when the only way to find out is to try new things.

Tom’s tips to help you prepare for your first corporate job

During and after university, I worked as a lifeguard and a barista. I knew I wanted to launch a career, and had a few mates who worked in recruitment and really enjoyed it. So I applied for a role at HorizonOne…and I’m still here and loving it, almost 3 years later!

Now, I help other graduates secure their first corporate roles in the public and private sectors. Like me, many of my candidates are coming from retail or hospitality positions and are ready to take the first step in their career.

If this is you, it’s likely that you’re feeling a little unsure of how to get started or what to expect. To give you an idea, we’ve put together a few tips.

Tip # 1: It’s good to be nervous

Feeling nervous is not a bad thing. After all, a corporate job is different to anything you’ve done before, and feeling nervous means you care about achieving your goals.

Don’t be afraid to talk to family or friends about their own experiences, or reach out to a reputable recruiter. A good recruiter will give you advice which will help you feel more confident.

Tip # 2: It’s OK to ask questions

It’s impossible to learn everything on your first day, or even in your first few months. But you won’t improve if you don’t ask questions, so be comfortable asking for help when you don’t know something.

Supervisors in the corporate world are usually very experienced in training new people, and will be happy to see that you are engaged in your training and thinking about how to do your work better.

Tip # 3: Accept that training takes time

While you may be able to learn the ropes in a hospitality or retail job in a couple of weeks, the learning curve in a corporate environment is likely to be longer and steeper with more technical information that can take months to fully grasp.

Instead, embrace a mindset of “always learning” so you never feel like you’re waiting for the finish line.

Tip # 4: Get advice if you’re struggling

If you’re having difficulty in your new role, have a chat with your supervisor. Unlike retail or hospitality where managers are typically young with just a few years of experience, most supervisors in the corporate world have been in their industry for many years and have lots of wisdom to share.

Your recruiter is also a source of support if talking to someone in your workplace feels uncomfortable.

Tip # 5: Take care of your health

In retail and hospitality, you’re on your feet all day – possibly working in shifts such as 8am to 2pm, or 2pm to 10pm. In an office environment, you spend much more time sitting down. But it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be tired at the end a 40-hour week!

Plan to take care of yourself by getting away from your desk at lunch, going for walks, and keeping healthy outside of work. Try to pace yourself instead of getting overloaded with everything you need to learn and do.

Julia’s experience and advice to new starters

I came to HorizonOne after working for a large retail company. While I’d also held a few admin roles, the companies were very small compared to the team we have here.

Having now been at HorizonOne for almost a year, I’ve found a number of key differences between working in retail and an office environment, such as:

  • You’re not on your feet all day and constantly moving
  • All the experience you gained with customers definitely translates – including reading body language, building rapport, and so on
  • Every role is customer-focussed; whether you’re face to face in a store, or over the phone in an office setting
  • Training in the corporate world is more personalised – like having a mentor

If you’re just starting out, remember that your first corporate role is an opportunity to launch your career, grow your network, build skills, and gain confidence.

It can be nerve-racking, but you’ll soon settle in…and be on your way to building the career you really want.

To have a chat with a recruiter about transitioning into your first corporate role, call HorizonOne on (02) 6108 4878.