APPRENTICE star and West Ham United vice-chair Karren Brady answers your careers questions and meets an inspirational CEO.
Here she gives a reader advice on being anxious about starting your first job.
Q) I’m about to graduate from university and am due to start my first “proper” job next month, but I’m dreading it. Besides waitressing and a little bit of office work during uni holidays, I’ve never been in a corporate environment before.
I’ve briefly met the team I’ll be working with, during my final interview – but when I introduced myself, I was met with blank faces and no one seemed very friendly.
Do you have any tips on how to present myself and come across as professional, friendly and keen to learn?
Maddison, via email
A) Congratulations on your first job in the corporate world! I can understand why you’re feeling hesitant, it’s completely normal.
Now it’s time to stand tall and show off your confidence. Be yourself – after all, you are obviously qualified and the hiring manager believed you’d be a great fit for the role, which is why you got the job.
Introduce yourself to your new colleagues, listen when people talk to you, ask them questions, show interest and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you don’t understand something.
Don’t forget the important experience waitressing will have taught you – I’m sure you’ve dealt with many different personality types, and have been able to act professionally and respectfully.
It’s no different in an office.
Read your colleagues’ body language and responses to know when it’s a good time to introduce yourself – five minutes before an important meeting is likely a bad time, but while making a coffee in the kitchen together is the perfect opportunity.
Remember to smile, be engaging and interested in what people have to say, and be willing to contribute! Best of luck.
A day in the life of…
Natalie Elliott, 41, is the CEO of award-winning clean beauty range Sakrid, which she co-founded with her partner Nick, 46. They live in Dorset with Natalie’s daughter Arwen, 10, and Nick’s two girls Bella, nine, and Thea, six.
I wake up at…
Between 5am and 6am. Juggling work and family can be stressful, but after a face cleanse, hair oil and a shower, I’m ready for the day. I have a tea in bed with Nick, and once I get the kids to school, I do an hour in the gym before getting to my home office at 11am.
A normal day involves…
A lot of time responding to emails from influencers, stockists and customers reaching out about skin problems. I’m not formally trained in skincare, but I’ve experimented enormously with different product ingredients so can share my experience. The personal touch matters in retail and I often write notes thanking repeat customers for their support.
We use our double garage for product storage and the kids help with packing orders with branded tissue paper and ribbon. We always include information about the brand, me and the products ordered, too. Right now, money’s tight for everyone, so investing in beauty products should feel like a nice experience from the start.
Our social media followers love hearing my latest beauty tips, so I spend around an hour a day engaging with them – it’s the key to brand loyalty. We launched during the pandemic, so rather than employing staff, we outsourced marketing and advertising to a creative agency and I like not having an internal team. Instead of dealing with HR issues, we can focus on the brand.
That said, I crave human contact. Zoom has been fantastic, but a coffee with another brand owner leads to more opportunities and ideas.
The best part of my job is…
Creating something – I’m so in love with our formulas.
And the worst…
Admin! I’m a creative mind, so accountancy and invoicing tasks always languish in my inbox.
I wind down by…
Cooking – the kids are fussy, so I have to create different meals. After dinner, we head to Avon beach, behind our garden. There’s nothing more relaxing than being by the sea as the sun sets.
Be a boss
Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses.
It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!
Read more at Thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.
Compiled by: Claire Frost & Gemma Calvert
Karren cannot answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.