Some real world tips for what you really need to know when you start as a graduate

1. Being on a big corporate graduate scheme is an amazing opportunity that you will never forget. Think of it as a door opener, not an end result

2. The world is divided into those who think graduates are a necessary pain in the neck and those that think graduates are a pain in the neck

3. People don't sit in organisations saying, "once the new grads arrive everything will be so much better". You may be very excited about starting but not everyone else will share your joy

4. The size of a graduate scheme is inversely proportioned to its collective intelligence

5. A graduate scheme of one is not a scheme, it’s a job

6. Organisations are full of politics, status battles and turf wars. Get used to it and get clued up about what is going on. Life ain’t fair

7. Get good at choosing the battles you can win and winning rather than being a master of lost causes

8. Make the your senior Boss’ PA your friend not a servant by making sure you learn how to use all the basic systems

9. Make HR your friend. They do matter as they have the power of “No” and hate being ignored

10. Admire sales people, they bring in the cash

11. If you're a graduate, everyone else in your team thinks they can do your job, they are right

12. If you're a graduate, the worst people in your team think they can do you're job because they haven't a clue what it is and don't care

13. The best managers have been great doers before. They're great at working out what needs to be done, but then know to step away. The worst have never done the day job, but think they can. And don't know when to step away.

14. People want to know if your work is any good and if they might like working with you. They don't care about the fact you are on a poncey graduate scheme, even less that you have “Leadership Potential”

15. Be nice to everyone, what goes around comes around

16. Take the time to be nice to those people even more junior than you. One day, some of them will end up as your boss

17. Do the same thing for as long as it takes to get really good at it. Change team or role but make sure your track record adds up to something valuable. Organisations hire for skills and pay a premium for rare skills. Get one

18. Don’t treat your graduate scheme as an extended Internship to learn about what you want to do. You should have done that before you started

19. Stick with people you trust, people you like and especially people who are more talented than you

20. There are people outside your organisation too. Make sure you hang around with them. It will make you better at your job and more importantly, a better human being

21. Everyone reads the same blogs and books as you do. Fish where others don't fish.

22. Most managers in any large organisation don't know what they're doing, they are as scared as you that they will get found out soon, so cut them some slack

23. Even more, HR folk don't know what they're doing, but don't get measured on much that matters, so will get away with it

24. You can tell a lot about a place by the quality of its coffee

25. Everyone wants to work at Google

26. Never talk about clients on trains or planes

27. Always talk to the person next to you on a plane, but never on a train

28. At the start no work is "beneath" you. Get stuck in and show what you can do, then you get more interesting work

29. Always check you've clicked 'forward' rather than reply

30. Turn on your email spellchecker and read what you send. Nothing removes credibility faster than sloppy emails.

31. A job takes too much time not to enjoy it. If you're not enjoying it, do something about it

32. If you're a business or marketing graduate in your first job, you need to understand it really doesn't work like they taught you

33. There are three realities in business life. What people say they are going to do, what they actually do and what they say they did. In any conversation check which reality you are in.

34. Even the business or project that looks the most shiny on the outside can be chaos within. Don’t follow fads look for quality

35. In every business there are some of the most interesting, kind and fun people on planet Earth. Find them.

36. There are exceptions, avoid them

37. If you find yourself in a team which believes everyone else in the organisation is an idiot, move team

38. If you find yourself in a team which believes your customers are idiots, move organisation.

39. By all means write a blog yourself but don't mistake any level of readership for accomplishment in the job

40. You will get fired or made redundant at least once unless you're very lucky. It hurts but you will thank them one day

41. You know it's time to calm it at team do's when you wake in a hotel broom cupboard

42. Shagging clients is never advisable,

43. Shagging workmates is not good either

44. Some places work very long hours. Some don't. Some work long hours just because, others because they're determined and committed. Some work short hours because they're efficient and get on with stuff rather than talking about it, others just want stuff off their desks

45. Some people don't think the job is life or death. Appreciate them, they do the boring tasks you don't want to, and have a life outside the office, which probably makes them more interesting than you are

46. Avoid crashing into the boss's car

47. Be humble about what you need to learn and confident about what you can do

48. What you do really doesn't matter too much, (unless you are a doctor, soldier etc), as soon as you learn not to take it seriously, it's much better for all

49. What you do is 10% of what our managers have to think about, once you get that, the relationship is much easier

50. Just because an idea is right does not make it useful

51. If they don't like the draft they won't like the final version. Show them the draft and save everyone some time

52. PowerPoint is not the point

53. Data is only as good as the person interpreting it and check the source

54. If you want to build a new relationship, find something to work with them on, if you want to build a team, find a project to unite everyone

55. You can make any project interesting if you try. That's kind of your job to bring that bit extra

56. Better to be too curious and too keen than invisible and dull

57. People will not come and find out about you, find ways to tell people what you have done that makes you interesting

58. Learn to recognise the difference between when it is time shut up and get stuff done and when people want to hear new ideas

59. Being known as a graduate is not a powerful brand, lose it as soon as you can

60. If you did something exciting as a student, stop telling people, they care about what you're doing now

61. Say thank you and be polite, people notice

(Inspired by a recent post by Northern Planner on what makes a great Planner in an advertising agency. Thanks)