New graduate

4 tips for a good start in your first job

How should you negotiate salary? What does an engineer, a science, IT or technical graduate earn? And how do you get on well with the new colleagues? Find answers here.

1. How to negotiate your first salary

Salary negotiations are rarely fun. It can be daunting to demand your worth, especially if you are about to start a new job. Therefore, IDA suggests that you prepare thoroughly before going to the salary negotiation. 

Have a look at the advice from IDA's career counsellors to prepare for your salary negotiation.


2. How to get off to a good start

When you've just started your new job, everything can easily seem overwhelming. New systems, workflows, alarm clocks and canteen arrangements. In addition, there are the new colleagues, who are also crucial for your well-being at your new job. What can you do to ensure a good and carefree start to your new working life?  

IDA's career counsellors point to three areas to focus on when you are looking to make a good introduction to your new job and your new workplace.  

  • Make sure you get in touch with your new colleagues so you can get to know them. Having good social relationships at work is one of the things that has the greatest importance for your professional well-being. Remember that most of your colleagues already know each other and are used to interacting with each other. It is not certain that they remember that you are actually new to the office. Make it a priority to talk to them at lunch or at the coffee machine. It doesn't have to be anything other than small talk. 
  • Notice how well you thrive in the office. Your time at university was likely affected by the corona shutdowns, where you may have had a lot of time at home with reading and were able to manage your everyday life yourself. It can be a big upheaval to suddenly be in an office at fixed times. Pay attention to how it affects you. How are you feeling as the new everyday life settles in? Are you drained or filled with energy by being with your colleagues? How do you handle the change in your personal freedom and flexibility? Do you need home working days -and are you able to? Or would you rather be in the office all the time? If you are aware of your needs, you can better ask your manager to help you get them met.
  • Be sure to coordinate expectations with your manager. Matching expectations is key to doing well in your first job. This applies not least when you have to get used to working under a manager and as part of a team. Therefore, it is a good idea to visit the tasks you solve and their prioritization, so you know for sure that you are working on what your manager also thinks is important. Therefore, try to include this as a point for your first or second meeting with the manager. 


3. Feel free to think about courses and training right away

As a new graduate, you'll hopefullybe given plenty of time to understand the new workflows, become comfortable with the new routines and build relationships with your new colleagues. Your first job is a training ground. It takes time and practice to get good, so it's a good idea to allocate your time, energy and focus to becoming more skilled. 

But once you've settled into your job, you'll discover which tasks you find most exciting and which you'd like to do better. You may find that you dream of managerial responsibility, more varied tasks, or you may find that the company uses completely different systems to those you are used to, and those are the systems you need to get better at.

You may also find that there are other opportunities at work that you want to try. Or you find that you've missed the mark with your first job. When you find something you want to get better at (or something you want to move away from), additional courses and training can be a great idea.

A good employer is always interested in you continuously improving your skills so that you can add value to the company and want to stay in the job. Here are three good reasons to consider taking professional courses as a recent graduate:

  • You show your manager that you are determined and ambitious - on behalf of the company and yourself. It is natural to be motivated to develop professionally, and you may be motivated by the prospect of developing your career. If there is an area in which you would like to improve your skills because you can see that it could create opportunities for you in the long term, this is a valid reason to ask for further training. Also consider how further training could also add value to your business in the short term. This will help your manager see the value of sending you and may even impress him or her with your commitment.
  • You take responsibility for your well-being and development Even if you're new to your job, you could do with a change - if only for a while. Taking a course can give you a break from everyday life and make you feel that you are developing and taking responsibility for your own well-being and development. This is important throughout your career, even when it is just beginning.
  • You can tailor your career "as you go". You develop, improve your skills and continuously find out what you want with your working life. Sometimes exciting projects come up, other times it may all be a bit quiet. This is important to be aware of because it is your responsibility to move where you want to go. So when you find an area you want to try your hand at, when you're offered a project, or when you think you're starting to stagnate, know that you can push yourself in a new direction. One of the ways is through professional training and courses.


4. Seek out like-minded people in graduate networks

As a recent graduate, you will typically get a job with a lot of colleagues who have been on the job market for many years. Many find that, in addition to all the new impressions, they are also left feeling a bit alone. You can therefore benefit from joining one of the following network groups, where you can exchange experiences with others in your situation: