Going from a lifetime in education to starting your first graduate job is a pretty big deal. And, amongst the excitement of graduation ceremonies and ‘congratulations’ cards, it can be a very real and daunting change.

2016 saw the arrival of 4 fresh faced graduate Chatterinos at the Roost, straight out of uni. And now that we’ve all passed our probations with flying colours (wahey!) we thought it was about time we shared some advice to help this year’s graduates, far and wide, make the most of those vital first few months in their new job.

So, put those course books down, stop harvard referencing, and let us put your minds at ease. It’s not as scary as it seems...

Sophie, Graphic Arts at Winchester School of Art 

This time last year, I was having a dilemma - should I follow my head and go back to uni, fresh from the Easter break as planned, to work my socks off, or follow my heart and stay up North for a few extra weeks before heading back, to see what doors the Leeds Digital Festival might open? Well my heart won (sorry head!) and I’ve not looked back since.

A few months after coming to an open day as part of the festival, and deliberately applying for the wrong role (just so I could chat to them again), I found myself arriving at the Roost for my first day as a two week old graduate, walking into a flexible role that allowed me to shape my own responsibilities and expertise. Now 9 months in, I couldn’t have asked for a better start to working life. So, here’s a bit of advice that’s really helped me find my feet…

  • Ask questions. It’s healthy. Nobody expects you to have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything when you walk through the door on day one. You will learn so much more in your first couple of weeks by being engaged, present and enthusiastic, than in your three years of studying.

  • It’s a two way street. Your employers will learn just as much from you, as you will from them. You’re a fresh pair of eyes and that's invaluable; your opinions, thoughts and perspective will challenge theirs, encouraging a more openly thinking and collaborative working environment. That’s a win win for everyone.

Russell, Marketing and Advertising Management at Leeds Beckett

Finishing uni is bittersweet. Or at least it was for me. Bitter because you have to wave goodbye to the student life: Those midweek nights on the town and surfacing mid-afternoon the following day, knocking out a few hours of work and calling it a hard day’s graft. Sweet because I got the grade I wanted and had the chance to celebrate around my family and friends at my graduation. The daunting thing was that I hadn’t secured a job for after I had finished. Little did I know the coolest kids in people communications were just across the road. A speculative job application, a few phone calls and two interviews later, and boom. I had arrived at Chatter. Fast-forward 10 months later and I’m settled into one of the best teams on the planet, and I’ve learned a couple of things along the way too…

  • Don’t be afraid to let people Miyagi you: when you make the transition from the classroom to office, you might find yourself doing odd jobs over and over again, and you might think there is little value. But be patient, it won’t be long before the reigns come off, and hey presto: You know exactly what needs to be done and exactly how to do it. You become a much more valuable resource when people around the business can give you a piece of work, wind you up and set you on your way without having to worry about you mucking it up.

  • Take something, and make it your own: when you start any new role - especially your first after graduating you’ll be expected to the learn the basics of the role as a starter, which is great, it gives you the tools you need to do your job and helps you settle in and get your feet under the table. But if you can, find your niche. There will be parts of the job you love, and parts you don’t. If you can really hone in on the thing you’re really good at and make it your own, you’ll become much more involved in heavy duty projects and garner much more responsibility, pretty simply because you’ll be the go to guy (or gal) for your specialist area. Your word won’t quite be gospel, but people will come to you for answers and tips on whatever your niche might be!

Ben, Music Production at Futureworks School of Media

Almost 2 years ago now I was leaving university and making my first venture into the real world. It was exciting in a few ways, and utterly frightening in others. My name is Ben and I’m a recent addition to the team here at Chatter. I’m a 23 year old, white t-shirt wearing, audio enthusiast and I’m loving working at Chatter more and more each day!

I studied music production at university in Manchester, a bit of a cop-out degree some might say, and I might agree. I chose music on the grounds that it’s the thing I love the most, not because It would challenge me (though it did) and definitely not because of the job prospects. Spoiler alert: There aren’t any. I’m now 10 months into my account exec role at Chatter, and I’m looking back at the person I was just out of Uni and here’s a couple of things that I noticed that might help you too as you take your first steps into the workplace...

  • Don't let a job get in the way of your family and your friends. There's a lot less time in the day when you’re working 9 ‘til 5. When I started at Chatter I was living in Manchester and commuting to and from Leeds each and everyday. Even though I wouldn't get home until 7:45 most days I didn't let it stop me spending quality time with my girlfriend, watching Game of Thrones in the pub on Mondays with my mates and going to see the family at weekends - make it work and you'll be happier because of it.

  • Use your free time to do the things that you love. As I mentioned, you're likely to have less time to now that you've taken your first step into the world of work. Using the time you do have free on weekends and evenings to further your hobby or socialise with friends will keep you from going insane. Organise your time to make sure you do get a few hours on a saturday to play football with your pals or learn that guitar riff you've been working on.

Charlotte, Marketing and Advertising Management at Leeds Beckett

As an absolute homebird, who commuted to university for 4 years (who’d have thought Sheffield would mean so much to a person!), I was definitely scared at the thought that I may have to fly the nest to find a job that really fit my extrovert personality. After meeting the guys at Chatter and realising just what a friendly bunch they really are, I decided to take it upon myself to make the move up to Leeds. This really gave me the opportunity to throw myself into workloads and projects, which resulted in me learning so much more than I ever thought I would! Now, nearing my 1 year anniversary at The Roost, I am so proud of how much I’ve achieved over the past year, and it really does come from believing in yourself and learning from those around you.

  • Be true to yourself. Don't feel as though, just because you're coming into a more formal environment, you need to change who you are - it could be because of who you are, that ended up in you winning the job!
  • Don't worry too much about your final grade. University gives you a great base of knowledge but you won’t use all of this in the workplace. You’ll find you learn so much more as you go on, and it's okay to take that at your own pace. Everyone picks things up differently, so don't feel as though you're slow or you can't do the work, just believe in yourself and take as many opportunities to learn as you can.

Unlike Sophie, Charlotte, Ben & Russell, Saskia joined Chatter through a slightly different route...

Saskia, Digital Marketing Apprentice now Marketing Executive

From leaving Sixth Form in June 2015, I knew that I wanted to begin my "working-life" through an apprenticeship scheme. And whilst going to university was an option, I'd been made aware of the many benefits that an apprenticeship had to offer. The ability to get involved and learn new skills everyday, gain experience working within a fast-paced environment, and, of course, earning a salary whilst learning!

Don’t get me wrong, it was a daunting process. Going from 3:30pm finishes and the only care in the world was hoping that there would be enough Lasagne left at lunch. But with the support of your work colleagues, you’ll feel right at home in no time.

Here are my top tips for those transitioning from Sixth Form to the workplace…

  • Since joining Chatter as an apprentice, I've really valued the opportunities that have been given to me. I've learnt so much in the last year. So my advice is to be completely open-minded. Be willing and show enthusiasm towards new ideas and learning new skills.

  • As most people probably know, Team Chatter are a pretty sociable bunch. Working in such a close environment, where you're spending 5 days a week with the same people, it really does help to be able to call your work colleagues friends.