Starting your first full-time job is a big deal.

It’s your first real step into adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it. It’s a moment to be really proud, but it can be really scary too.

There are some things that you need to think about before you start:


How much are you going to save from each paycheque?

It’s hard to know exactly how much it’s going to cost you to actually go to work – you might need to budget for some new clothes, public transport, parking, fuel or some new walking shoes if you’re lucky enough to be able to walk to work. You’ll have to think about lunches and snacks as well as the cost of socialising with your new colleagues.

If you’re saving for a house, you need to be conscious of how much you’re spending, and what you’re spending it on.

Make the first month an assessment period – so that you can accurately put together a spending plan. Remember to include some “play money” because you do want to be able to treat yourself occasionally.

A good place to start is the 50/30/20 plan. 50% of your pay goes on needs, 30% on wants and 20% on savings. If you’re still living with your parents and not paying rent or a mortgage, you could juggle these numbers quite around a lot – but it’s a starting point.


Impressions and performance

What impression do you want to give to your boss and colleagues? How do you want to perform in this role. This is so important and can set some really good work habits to carry you through your whole career.

Here are some tips we’ve collated for you:

  • Be on time. All the time. Even when it’s just coming back from lunch.
  • Build your skills and show initiative by helping out with other roles. Get a good handle on your primary role and then broaden your wings – without losing focus on your main job.
  • Become the go-to person for something. Get really good at something so people come to you for your skills, know-how and helpfulness. Even if you’re the expert at fixing the copier or printer – become great at something.
  • Learn how to communicate with your boss. Remember, they’re your boss so you don’t want to tell them every detail about your weekend but it’s good to know them a little so that you can find some common ground to talk about.
  • Find out as much as you can about the company. Does it have values? Do they align with yours? Why are those values important to the company? What’s it’s goal or mission statement? Take some time to understand the priorities of the company and how your role and future roles can be of benefit to them achieving those priorities.
  • Write down your accomplishments. This will come in handy at your performance appraisal and when you’re updating your CV.
  • Make sure you know what your manager expects of you and what their measure of “excellence” is, and then deliver.
  • Develop and nurture professional relationships. These can help you today and in the future.
  • Make friends and acquaintances but never enemies.

Self care

Take care of yourself. It’s normal to want to throw yourself into a job 100% when you’re just starting out, but make sure you have time for yourself too.

Don’t be a martyr and don’t sacrifice your mental health for the sake of a job.

If you’re not coping with the workload, talk to your manager about priorities and ways to work more efficiently. Ask for help if you need to.

Don’t stick around if it’s the wrong workplace for you.


Good luck with your first job. It’s a big deal and one that you want to get right. It’s your stepping stone to independence and the place that you will start really saving to buy that house.

Enjoy and remember to balance drive and ambition with patience and gratitude.