Starting a new job can be a big adjustment, but there are things you can do to really make the most of the first few days, weeks, and even months in your new role. In this article, we outline 14 things you can do when starting your new job; from introducing yourself to your new colleagues to setting boundaries and tracking your progress.
Prepare Your Introduction
You’ll be introducing yourself to so many new faces, so think about what you want people to know about you. You might also want to prepare a few interesting facts about yourself in case you’re pulled into an icebreaker.
Talk to as Many People as You Can
Introduce yourself to as many people as you can and really get to know the roles that everyone plays in the company. This will help when it comes to working collaboratively outside of your team or department, or if you want to move to a new department later on, as you’ll already have some connections there.
Demonstrate your curiosity and don’t be afraid to ask ‘obvious’ questions, but do find the right time to ask them and be specific with what you say. Prioritise asking the most important questions first and keep a list of the others to run through with your manager another time. Make sure to document your answers as this will help to retain the information and give you a go-to guide you can always refer to.
Get to Know Your Team
Get to know your team both personally and professionally and don’t wait for people to approach you – be the one to make the first move. If you’re not introduced to each person by your manager, ask them for a quick call to get to know their role, or to go for a coffee at lunchtime if you’re in the office.
Confirm Your Manager’s Expectations
Find some time early on to meet with your manager to discuss their expectations of you, and to set realistic goals for yourself. Talk through your 30-, 60-, and 90-day goals and ask for regular reviews to stay on track.
Understand What Success Looks Like
Similarly, find out what success looks like in the role, and how it’s measured. If it’s a Sales role, this might involve finding out what targets your colleagues are achieving every month, and what is considered a ‘good’ month. You won’t necessarily be meeting or exceeding these straight away, but it will give you some clear goals to start working towards.
Find Out Who the Key Decision Makers are
Ask questions about the hierarchy in the company and find out who the key decision makers are. Know the names and faces of Senior Managers/Directors - you don’t want to find yourself chatting to the CEO in a lift and not know who they are!
Knowing these people is important if you’re going to progress your career within the company or if you have a role that involves driving lots of change.
Remember that you’ve been hired to add value to the company, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you see something that’s not working, whether it’s a platform the company uses or a specific process. One of the benefits of hiring someone new is gaining a fresh pair of eyes to look over things, so if you see something you think could be improved, don’t be afraid to point it out respectfully.
Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Getting a new job is the perfect time to really step outside of your comfort zone. Get stuck in with your new role and say yes to as many opportunities as you can. Set a reputation for yourself as someone who is willing to help outside of their usual responsibilities and who wants to learn, and you’ll find more opportunities come your way.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Doing extra hours, taking on extra projects and helping colleagues with their workload during busy times are all great ways to make a good impression in your new job, but don’t burn yourself out by taking on too much too soon. Set realistic boundaries for yourself and learn to manage your new set of responsibilities before you start taking on additional work.
Set healthy work habits such as not reading your emails in the evenings or in bed, and not doing work over the weekends unless you really need to. If you’re asked to do something you realistically can’t manage, instead of just saying ‘no’ talk through your current obligations and find a way of providing support without compromising your work. This way, you’ll still present yourself as someone people can turn to for help, but you won’t be burning yourself out in the process.
Document Your Work
You’ll likely have a probation period in your new job, so keeping a work diary is a good way of documenting everything you’ve achieved so far, as well as identifying things you need support with. Start this from your first day and add to it whenever is convenient. Work diaries are great for applying for future jobs too, so it’s something that will always be useful.
Stay in Touch With old Colleagues
Especially if your previous job was in the same industry or a similar field, keep in touch with your old colleagues – these are great professional connections to have, so don’t forget about them! Stay in touch through LinkedIn by continuing to engage with their posts and make sure your name isn’t one they forget.
Ask for Feedback
After your first month or in your probation review, ask your manager to give you some feedback on how you’re doing, and identify any areas of improvement together. Being proactive about your development shows that you really care about the quality of your work, and not just getting things done quickly.
Give Yourself Time…
Don’t expect to be great at everything straight away. Give yourself time to settle into a new routine, learn new tools, complete your training, and organise your new workload. No two jobs will be the same, so give yourself time to adjust and set yourself small goals for your first few weeks. These could be something as simple as being able to talk through a process without looking at your notes or completing a set amount of a training course. Whatever they are, they’ll help you to keep track of what you’ve achieved, and this can be really motivating.
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