The latest cohort of Food Science and Technology students have just completed their masters and bachelor degrees.
All those late nights, extra coffees, nerves and perhaps a grey hair or two have been worth it. You’ve finished your study and have celebrated but now what?
You are likely on the way to looking for a starting point in your career or starting a new one; this is a wonderfully nerve racking and exciting time.
Things will start to change pretty rapidly when joining a new team and leaving the comfort of the educational environment. You may find that you feel like a “fish out of water” when you are joining a new team; there are new rules, politics, procedures, new team mates, new processes, policies, likes, dislikes and a totally new environment. Not to mention your Quality Manager boss who has sooooo much more experience than you.
This is all part and parcel of the change or start of your career as a Food Technologist. To help you through this we have put together some tips on making the transition a successful one.
Proof-read your emails…
In this day and age of technology we generally utilise one device for multiple email accounts or even social apps. Not too far into my career I was using MS Outlook and managed to send a company email to several job seeking candidates from my personal Hotmail account.
Now whilst this is not the end of the world and wasn’t the end of my career it was embarrassing and awkward to explain (more than once). Obviously, we all make mistakes and it is how you learn and rise from them, but a simple check and double check of an email will go a long way to ensuring you start on the right foot.
You have an email, you don’t know the answer, or even if you will have time today to try to find out. That is fine! If you can’t do something immediately or you need to find out more information ensure you respond to the request by email, or phone call. This lets the person at the other end know you have received their message. Let them know when you will reply with the work completed or information required. You do not have to have an answer right away, but you should set expectations for when you can get back to them. Ensure you get back to them when you say you will and if you can’t respond again advising you will need more time. Communication is key, always!
Do you know what the most important task of your day is? Prioritising! That’s right. However if you aren’t sure what to do first don’t try to guess– just ask. A customer may be waiting on a new product trial, information that you may not have known when pushing that task to the bottom on the pile. Get the specifics on what tasks are expected of you and by when. Supervisors may not be fully aware of all the work you have to do in a day or week. Make sure you clarify your responsibilities and what the priorities are to ensure their expectations are being met.
Ask questions, but be resourceful
It is always refreshing when new employees or graduates try to find out information or figure things out on their own before asking a question. It shows enthusiasm and resourcefulness.
However, it is also ok to ask! Questions are important, of course it is how we learn. It also matters that you do your job to figure out as much as you can on your own. Hint: Google often.
The best employees and interns I’ve worked with go above what I’ve asked of them, I also try to be one of these employees. This doesn’t mean you need to work 20 hours a day in the office but it is certainly remarkable not to mention very helpful when someone sees a gap or task that needs completing and takes initiative to propose a solution – and maybe even develop an action plan – for filling that gap and if you are able to complete the task appropriately then even better!
Now, as was your first year of university there will be a lot of changes and adjustments to make but knowing a few of the main tips on how to navigate these changes will get you off to the best possible start.
Take the time to set yourself up for success!
Congratulations Graduates, and welcome to work life!