How to win at work: Tips on surviving the 21st century workplace
How to win at work: Tips on surviving the 21st century workplace

How to win at work: Tips on surviving the 21st century workplace


by: Lara Quentrall-Thomas, Chairman – Regency Recruitment and Resources Limited

Entering the world of work can be exciting and exhilarating, but also daunting. You want to be sure to put your best foot forward and make a great impression, but you also need to be open to learning and opportunity. I am pleased to share a few tips on how to ensure survival as you make your first foray into the world of work .. in fact, as I think of it, these tips are useful even for anyone going into a new job.

Firstly, it is important to demonstrate initiative and independence. Don’t constantly present problems and ask questions – do some research first (the internet knows everything), ask colleagues for advice, and then present your boss with possible solutions to the challenge at hand. This will show that you are resourceful and solution oriented, which is something all companies cherish.

Before you ask for a raise or a promotion, make sure you have earned it. Put in the time and effort – show your boss that you are a consistent hard worker, who has learnt everything about the job and gone the extra mile to make a difference, especially to customers.  Think about how you can add value to the company, even supporting colleagues from other departments, and take every opportunity to run projects and demonstrate leadership.


Getting organized is critical for success. Use whatever tools you feel comfortable with – a diary or planner, online task manager – but make sure that you don’t miss deadlines or let tasks slip through the cracks because you forgot to write them down. I rarely forget something because I have developed a love of lists, and make them all the time. 

Developing professional and efficient communication skills is going to be essential for you to succeed. Craft your emails formally, don’t use what’s app abbreviations in professional communications, do a course on how to write proposals, reply to emails in a timely manner – all of these will demonstrate that even though you are young, you are professional and committed to excellence.


Finally, manage your money. I have personal experience of spending all my salary in the first week of the month, and then walking to work because I had no money for the bus. If you know you are not good with this, ask for help creating, and sticking to, a budget. You should be able to focus on work and your achievements, rather than being stressed about how you will pay your cell phone bill or buy lunch.

Your first job, even your second job, may not be all you dreamed it would be. But these are important learning experiences that develop your expertise and network, and help you build a career. So wherever you are, do the job with excellence. Make sure that when you do leave: (a) you get a great reference and (b) the company is sad to see you go.

Good luck!

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