Tips for Starting a New Job
So, you got the job – way to go! But now you have the new-job jitters. The good news? You are perfectly normal. Nearly everyone starting a new job, especially if you’re making a career transition or it’s your first professional role, worries about having the right skills to succeed and about making an impression – a good one, that is. Having a healthy dose of the jitters can actually be a good thing if it propels you to take steps to get off on the right foot that first week, month and quarter. If you do, you’re more likely to become an indispensable part of your new team in short order. When you are starting a new job you should consider tips such as preparing in advance, ensuring first week success, thinking ahead, and furthering your education.
Prepare in Advance
Anything you can do ahead of your start date to make your first day, week, or month go more smoothly is a smart move.
- Research company culture
Explore social media posts and read the company’s publications, newsletters and/or annual reports to gain a broad sense of how the organization operates, carries out its vision and treats its employees and stakeholders.
- Learn names and positions
Study the company’s organizational chart to learn the names and positions of as many people as possible. You can research them on LinkedIn and social media to have a good working knowledge of the main players in the organization and your department.
- Gather documentation
Make sure you stay in regular communication with your hiring manager or HR department in preparation for your first day. You want to gather all the necessary materials you will need and fill out as much paperwork as you can ahead of your start date. You may need to provide information and documentation for tax, insurance, identification, and benefits.
- Manage expectations
Make sure you find out from your manager or HR what the appropriate dress code is. Also, you may want to find out if there is anything you need to bring with you that first day and exactly where and when you are to report. Managing expectations is key in understanding the proper etiquette in your workplace.
Ensure First Week Success
Your first day on the job could consist of completing training, filling out paperwork, or having a full-fledged orientation. On the other hand, you could be thrown directly into your first project. Either way, there are a few things that will make for a successful first day and week.
- Arrive early
Making an impression starts here. You certainly don’t want to jeopardize your new job by being late your first week.
- Connect with HR
The human resources department is a resource that you should become familiar with and utilize to your benefit. Whether you have to ask for information about onboarding or the company has a well-oiled orientation process, HR will be your go-to for information about company policies, procedures and benefits.
- Ask for a tour
Taking the time to get a tour of the facility will help you get a sense of the corporate vibe - and keep you from getting lost looking for the restroom! Knowing where the break room, various departments, executive offices, and even the custodian closet are will help you get your bearings and see how everything is connected.
- Locate critical departments
Especially pay attention to departments that you will be interfacing with or that you may need assistance from down the road, such as IT, HR, or marketing, and note the appropriate contact for each.
- Set yourself up
That first week may seem like a blur but take time to set up your office space or cubicle to make it comfortable, even if you have to come in early or stay late. This will be your home away from home for the foreseeable future, so make it a place you want to be.
- Introduce yourself
Yes, you’re the new person, but don’t wait for others to acknowledge your arrival. Proactively introduce yourself to your colleagues and managers, whether it’s in meetings, as you pass them in the hall, or as you take a tour of the facility. Be friendly and try to use their name at least once in your interaction. Consider connecting with your colleagues on LinkedIn to help you make a strong impression.
- Learn your co-workers’ names
Learning and using the names of your colleagues, especially those in your department and other departments you will work with on a regular basis, will help with communication and send the message that you care. Learn what you can about them online so you can identify common interests or connection points for future conversations and interactions.
- Connect with your manager
Whether or not he or she schedules a meeting with you in the first few days, it is important to connect with your manager early to learn his or her preference to communicate. Whether it be email, instant message, a phone call, or an in-person visit, you want to proactively verify that you are on track with first week and initial expectations. Make sure to take this time to ask any questions you may have. Your success is a reflection on them, so they will welcome this initiative.
Consider Long-Term Success
Tips on starting a new job go beyond the first few days. Once you get that first week under your belt, you’ll want to start thinking about how to make yourself a highly valued employee for the long-term. It’s easy to feel vulnerable if this is your first professional job or if you have made a career transition, but a few smart actions can help you achieve new job success as well as new job satisfaction.
- Make yourself valuable
Whether it’s getting to work early to make the coffee, volunteering for the grunt job on a project, or identifying a task you can help your manager with to make his/her job easier, find a way to make yourself an extra asset.
- Touch base with your manager
Especially if you don’t have regular meetings, check in with your manger regularly for feedback on tasks you’ve completed, as well as every couple of weeks to ensure you are meeting expectations. S/he will be happy to see that you are willing to improve and take direction.
- Ask questions
Make sure you have done your due diligence to find answers on your own but asking questions at the proper time and of the appropriate person is crucial to being well-rounded in your corporate and job-specific knowledge. Just don’t forget to also be a good listener!
- Be Social
Taking an interest in your peers goes a really long way in building valuable relationships in the workplace, which makes the job more enjoyable. Developing a few friends that you can socialize with outside of work can ease the stress of the job, also. Don’t forget that starting with who you know is what helps us build professional connections.
- Exhibit your work ethic
This tip may be a no-brainer but show up every day and do your best work. You will earn a reputation for being a hard worker who gets results, and that can open up future opportunities.
- Be collaborative
Some people prefer to work alone, and some people like to get all the credit for the team’s work. Instead, truly come to the table with a mindset of working together for the greater good. Be open to others’ ideas and identify how you can best contribute to ensuring everyone looks good at the end of a project.
- Set boundaries
Making an impression is important, and sometimes you’ll have to go the extra mile to do it. However, you will want to assess early whether the expectations of your time and energy are realistic. Decide what your limits are and set healthy boundaries sooner rather than later so you can maintain your own well-being.
Develop your Career
Whether you take advantage of available company training or seek professional development outside of work, there are a number of ways you can develop your career.
- Challenge yourself
Within your organization, you should volunteer for a project that will stretch your skills and showcase your abilities.
- Assess your values and goals
A method for career advancement is taking a self-assessment. Career assessments help you analyze the critical areas that make up who you are. A self-assessment of your values, interests, personality, and aptitude gives you the courage and confidence to advance your career.
- Further your education
An excellent way to keep learning and growing is to enroll in an online degree program. Those who are serious about long-term success and career advancement generally pursue a bachelors or master’s degree. This is important if you want to keep yourself at the forefront when your supervisor is thinking about succession planning.
Our tips on starting on new job will help calm your new-job jitters and give you the confidence you need to rock it from day one. As you settle into your new role, keep thinking about your future. Ottawa University’s accelerated online degrees are the perfect start for career advancement. In addition to online, we’re conveniently located in Kansas City, Milwaukee, and Phoenix. Call us today!
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