Establishing Yourself in Your First Job

Lucy Molloy is a UofG politics grad who is now on the Rocket Fuel Sales Graduate Scheme. She reflects on her experience and how you can make the best start possible in your first role.


Like most of you who are reading this, the job I currently have was not my first and certainly won’t be my last! It is, however the first and by definition the last graduate scheme that I’m partaking in, so differs slightly from my previous employment experiences of unpaid internships and serving drinks at grotty Glaswegian bars.

When you graduate – the world is your oyster – or so you think. After numerous rejections, you start to realise it’s more akin to a clam, a clam that rarely opens despite being sent hundreds upon hundreds of CVs. Don’t worry, at some point, someone, somewhere will take a chance on you and hopefully it will be in a company that you like.

Currently I’m on the Rocket Fuel Sales Graduate Scheme, which is a year of on the job training followed by a permanent position on the Commercial Team. The biggest lesson I learnt from the interview process for this role was the importance that was placed on how I would fit into the company culture. This is something I hadn’t really thought about when applying for previous positions so I would recommend that when you’re applying for jobs you ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Why do I really and truly want to work here?
  2. What are the values that the organisation holds and are these in line with my personal values?
  3. Can I see myself getting along with the people here?

I count myself as being extremely lucky at Rocket Fuel. There’s a culture of openness that really encourages working in partnership with your colleagues as opposed to competing against them, and an amazing amount of benefits that shows the company really values our professional and personal development. During the first two months here I’ve been challenged yet supported and been provided with encouragement and constructive feedback. I’ve also been trusted to work with large clients such as Waitrose, Microsoft and Oracle and I can honestly say I look forward to coming into work (yes I am a massive loser).

For those about to embark on their journey to a first ‘proper job’ these are 5 things that I’d keep in mind:

1. Ask Questions

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. This is your time to learn, take advantage of it. If there is someone you think you could learn from – ask if you could have 20 minutes of their time to sit down and ask them some questions. Most people will be more than happy to impart some of their knowledge onto you. I’ve learnt invaluable things from doing this at Rocket Fuel and I also have a point of contact with colleagues I might not have met otherwise.

2. Take initiative

This is especially key if you’re working in a big company. Attending a large meeting where you don’t have much to verbally contribute? Take notes and send them round to the department afterwards. It shows that you were engaged and you want to contribute. If you’ve got a lighter workload than usual offer your colleagues help with theirs – teamwork makes the dream work.

3. Watch & Listen

The first 3 months in a job are all about getting a feel of the company culture and what’s expected of you. Pay attention to your surroundings and remember that your conduct is being observed too.

4. Get Involved

Try your best to attend social events, and seek out ways that you can contribute further to the company. I’ve joined the charity team at Rocket Fuel and am really enjoying working with colleagues from different departments and partaking in a range of projects as a result of this.

5. Consider your next steps

After you’ve settled in – around the 3 month mark – it’s good to keep in mind your next steps. You don’t need to have a solid 5 year plan (seriously who actually has those?) but an idea of where you’d like to be in a year or two’s time is a good place to start.

So go forth, peruse LinkedIn and conquer the graduate job market – and if all else fails, just go travelling whilst you have the time!


You can connect with Lucy on the Network. Signing up for The Network is simple and just requires your GUID


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