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10 tips to succeed in your new career

26 Jun 2016

graduate2 Melbourne Polytechnic Director of College for Humanities and Arts, Dr Karina Davis, gave our recent graduates some sage advice on heading out into the world – apart from the practical knowledge required, these ten guiding principles will help you succeed across all aspects of your career, and maybe even life!

Be curious

Be curious authentically. Puzzle over why things work they way they do and try to understand them. Work to solve problems and refine and improve processes. Don’t just accept the status quo – think ahead and work to innovate. Small or large changes for the better good are all important.


And observe. Don’t always be in such a rush to say things, to prove yourself, to push. When you are listening, listen with the intention of understanding what others are saying – don’t listen so that you can interrupt. You can often piece things together if you sit back to watch and listen – and you can contribute, when you do, with a fuller picture.

Ask Questions

Not enough people ask real questions. Ask questions with the desire to understand. To understand the brief, the context, the intention of the other person. This can only do you good and makes you a person that others want to be around. And you’ll be better informed. This one is a win win.

But be careful when you ask questions…

Judge the situation and the mood. Don’t ask questions for the sake of it – ask real ones that help you understand. Not though when your new boss is in the middle of a presentation, or when a colleague has just told you they really love a quiet work space. Not when someone is running late for a meeting and definitely not the same question you asked four times already!

Be ready to bounce

You won’t always do the right thing. You may really stuff it up. Avoiding this is not always the measure of your performance in industry. It’s what you do with it that counts. So – at times like these – dust yourself off, LEARN, and present yourself back – ready to grow, able to show what you’ve learned that has made you better, and be willing to try again.

Be kind and give the benefit of the doubt

This is the hardest one when dealing with people. We never really know what is going on for people and what their intentions are. When required or called on, act on the side of kindness and generosity. And just a note, it’s never wise to send an email, or post something on social media, in anger or frustration. Wait. Save it to drafts. Check it out again in the morning. Delete entirely or at the least, Re-word!

Embrace diversity

Take joy in it, as opposed to tolerate it. See how it builds strengths and shared experiences. Understand its importance in your industry area, be ready to articulate why diversity is important and run with your arguments and rationales. Be clear and determined and open.

Be and advocate and an ally

Don’t dismiss others experiences – particularly the ones that are uncomfortable or difficult to hear. Australia has lots of things to be proud of, but in industry there are still many areas for improvement. For systems, for safety, for health and for people. Include all. Work with integrity and be both an advocate and an ally for your industry so all people’s opportunities within it grow – this will only strengthen your industry as well.


If you have done the wrong thing and be prepared to acknowledge a mistake. This is not a sign of weakness. This is important. Be ready to say where you went wrong, know that the mistake is yours to wear and explain the steps you have taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Be ready to have a laugh

Not at others but with others. Sometimes even at yourself. We spend a lot of time at our work places. Let’s make them places worth spending time in!   If you want to start your new career sooner rather than later, we are taking midyear enrolments now - click here to have a look at our courses on offer for midyear   Image: Baim Hanif