First Grownup Job Guide: Being Assertive

By May 8, 2018For Talent

Starting out your first grownup job can be intimidating. From the very first day, you’ll attend meetings with professionals who have years of experience. This often causes people to doubt their abilities- to feel unprepared and underqualified.

In these instances, being assertive is essential for both yourself and your work, and ensures you’ll be treated properly and fairly. This requires self assurance and confidence, traits which can be acquired with the help of some simple techniques.

Here are some things you can do to help behave assertively in your new workplace.

Recognise your value

Bear in mind you were employed for a reason, you didn’t just walk in from the street and start intruding on some random company meetings! Your employer values the unique perspective that you bring, even if you don’t. Start trusting yourself and focus on your accomplishments and achievements, however small.

Know your boundaries

People starting out in their careers are most likely to work themselves to exhaustion. Why? Because they’re afraid of saying ‘no’. In attempts to prove themselves, they’ll take on every task thrown their way, even if they’re already swamped. When working ridiculous hours negatively impacts upon your performance, assertively voicing your needs is essential. If you can’t stay late to meet a deadline, let your boss know. Avoid coming across as demanding by reminding them you’re open to feedback.

Stay focused

Assertiveness in the workplace requires having a constant mental presence and readiness to stand up for yourself. If you’re constantly tired and thinking about non work related matters, dealing with a difficult coworker assertively might be difficult. Incorporating meditation and relaxation into your weekly schedule might help clear your mind.

Analyse your behaviour

Alternatively, your language and body language could be letting you down. Do you feel the need to constantly apologise? Or do you find yourself trailing off at the end of sentences? Try to consciously break these habits. Speak in headlines, unapologetically and with intent. Sit up straight and make eye contact, people will have no choice but to listen!


Get ready to be assertive by practicing when you’re not in the office. Try to let your new attitude spill over into other aspects of your life too. Once you’ve had some preparation, you can start to welcome those uncomfortable work situations, and face them with far less anxiety. Set yourself assertive goals, and reward yourself when you meet them.


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Author Jack Maguire

Jack Maguire is a recent English Studies graduate, content writer for the Jobbio blog, freelance journalist and podcast creator.

More posts by Jack Maguire

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