Prepare for Work

Adapting to Workplace Culture, Professional Etiquette, Workplace Skills

Workplace Skills

Your first graduate role offers you the opportunity to develop workplace skills, experience workplace culture and to make contacts for future opportunities. This page will tell you how to make the most of your first role, how to develop workplace skills, network and how to stand out from the crowd. 

Develop your Workplace Skills

Put theory into practice, learn from others and develop new skills:

    • IT. skills
    • Non-technical skills/soft skills
    • Communication
    • Interpersonal
    • Time Management
    • Team Building
    • Career Development

Gain an insight into other potential career areas and get a glowing reference!

Workplace Culture

Perhaps the most useful element of placement experience is the insight it gives into workplace culture and the opportunities it offers in terms of exercising professional etiquette within this culture.

Professional etiquette refers to the rules within a business environment that set guidelines and expectations for treating others with respect and professionalism.

Communication with your Employer

  • Have regular performance meetings with your Work Place Mentor
  • Communicate – if in doubt, ask. You will not look silly for asking a question. Good communication will help you to achieve a good placement, good reference and networking opportunity for the future
  • Appraisal Form– this report is completed at the end of the Placement by Work Placement Supervisor – you should use it as an opportunity to discuss areas that you need to work on (Exit interview).

The Social Side of Work

You need to determine what is acceptable in your workplace

  • Start/Finish times
  • Lunch /tea/cigarette breaks
  • Familiarity – how to communicate with the boss, colleagues etc.
  • Is it acceptable to chat in teams?
  • Summer BBQs and nights out
    • Be aware of how much you drink
    • You are still at work
    • If in doubt….don’t drink

Gossip v Communication
Important to distinguish between: 

Office Gossip

Office Small Talk

Personal / malicious

Can be a good way of keeping informed

Irrelevant to work

Can be a good way of strengthening business relationships


Must be impersonal and work related


Must not eat into your productivity