Starting a New Role? Here’s 5 Tips to Help Ensure Career Success

Our role at Gradability is to help graduates successfully transition from study to professional employment, something we take very seriously as Australia’s #1 Professional Year Provider.

Our work primarily centres on helping candidates understand the Australian workplace and provide them with the tools to navigate this sometimes tricky environment.

I’m often asked by graduates for tips on how to ‘get ahead’ in their new careers, a question just about every new starter in our business asks too. As with many things in life, I get the impression that people are hoping for a silver bullet solution that will unlock all the secrets and fast-track their careers through the stratosphere, so it often surprises them when the first piece of advice I give is “focus on what you’re doing and don’t look too far ahead”.  Another way to think of this is to focus on delivering ‘world class basics’.  There are a few other tips too…

World Class Basics

We all want to do well at our roles and get promoted.  The best way to get noticed is to focus on the job at hand and to do it well.  If we’re all focused on doing the basics well and “keeping the main thing the main thing”, we will achieve great things.  Do not overcomplicate matters. Earlier in my career I got sucked into the trap of thinking I had to use technical jargon and subscribed to the theory of “more is more” in communicating, only to be told the exact opposite holds true.  Keep it simple and focus on the basics.

Ask Questions… And Listen

It’s hard when you find yourself in a new environment and you quite literally have no idea what is going on, nor what people are saying. There is a time and a place for “fake it till you make it” but the worst thing you can do is blindly go about your tasks. Ask questions, find better ways of doing things.  You’ve been selected to the team because they obviously believe you have something to offer, so if you need clarification, ask for it.  At the same time, listen. There are few things worse than a person who asks a question then doesn’t wait for an answer.

Act As If It Was Your Business

You will be called upon to make decisions.  This can be scary.  Ask yourself what decision you’d make if it was your business… and why.  You’ll typically come up with the right answer and you can always get clarification if it isn’t.  This is particularly the case when it comes to monetary matters… giving away $200 to ‘make a problem go away’ is a lot harder to do if it were your $200.

We all make mistakes, and we accept these will happen, but if we all act as if it were our business, we will make the ‘right’ mistakes.  And learn from them.

Control the Controllables

There are many factors we can’t control, from government policy to industry regulations, from management decisions to global pandemics.  These can sometimes seem overwhelming and, sometimes, paralysing.  It happens to the best of us and one of the tools I use regularly is this mantra “Control the Controllables”. Yes, there might be 15 things you can’t control, but there will be one that you can, so focus on that.  And then the next, then the following.  Before you know it, the problem doesn’t seem that insurmountable.

Celebrate the Wins

Finally, don’t forget to celebrate when you get something right.  It could be as simple as a fist pump under your desk and doesn’t have to be a big event but stopping to acknowledge when you’ve done a good job is important.

– David Phua, CEO Performance Education


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