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The Ultimate Guide to Acing Your First Week on the Job

Estimated reading time: 8 mins

You are walking through the main entrance of your new workplace towards the elevator and you are soaking in the surroundings. There is not a single familiar face to greet you. You straighten out your attire and take a deep breath. Once you enter your department, your first day at work will officially begin.

Whether it is your first job or your fifth, the first few days on the job will be a little intimidating. However, using the key rules discussed in this blog post will get you comfortable in the new surroundings and get you up to speed in no time, getting you off on the right foot with the coworkers and your new boss.

Be a Sponge

The most important task for you to do when you start your first week is to absorb everything as much as possible. You will need to know your company’s culture, the communication and working styles of your teammates, office politics as well as company-wide or departmental goals. This absorbing early on will help you start your real work much sooner and more effectively.

It is a good idea to go to hiring orientation sessions and sign yourself up for professional development classes, attending all team and office meetings possible, even if you might not be entirely sure of what is going on or every meeting does not pertain entirely to your work.

Even better: join any informal events. If you have the time, say “yes” if asked to join lunch or happy hour. Such meetups are great to meet people and it also shows that you are excited to be a part of your new team.

Never Overcommit Yourself

You will need to be careful at start to balance your schedule. You will want to have plenty of time learning the ropes from your desk. The last thing you will want is to look like someone who is having to juggle too much in too little time, seeing overwhelmed or showing up late to a commitment just because you are stuck in another task.

Ask Heaps of Questions

As you are learning about new projects, processes and people, you should never be afraid to ask questions. You will need to get up to speed and your colleagues will be expecting it from the new person on the team. You should also take down detailed notes of everything you learn, even if it looks simple. Your brain will probably on overload in this first week. So, writing down everything will make sure that you do not have to ask the same questions again and again.

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

While it is good to be a listener at first, it does not mean that you should not speak up. Never be afraid to add value by contributing. You should be looking at ways to reinforce the notion that you are the right person for the job. Now you can never know each and everything (and neither should you act like you do), but it is always refreshing to contribute positively to team meetings and brainstorming sessions, asking questions like, “Have you tried this before?” If there is a specific ability or skill that you have been hired to bring to the team, you should definitely pipe up and share that knowledge with everyone. The only thing you must do is be careful in reading your audience – you should never look like someone stepping on someone’s toes like a gangbuster.

Offer Others a Helping Hand

It is possible to have some down time during the first few days at your new job as your team and boss are trying to adjust you. You should not sit around waiting for others to find out a task for you – volunteer to help others on a project. Be proactive and show initiative, building a good rapport with your co-workers and new boss, and you will learn about procedures, expectations and how things are generally done.

Refrain from Turning Down Help or Advice

If you find your boss or co-workers wanting to offer you help with a task or give you advice on a certain project, take them up on it. Even if you are completely capable of handling things on your own, you should never turn down an offer of help or advice, because this is a great way to bond with the new office mates and you may also get some valuable insight into the company’s expectations or guidance on how to perform your work more efficiently.

Look for a Mentor

This is a good one: It is always a great idea to have an experience, successful and knowledgeable professional to share your ideas with and be groomed by. It is even more mandatory when you are a newbie. So, look around and identify the stars of your new organisation. These are the people who radiate confidence, initiative and likability. Go ahead and introduce yourself to them and pick their brains.

Then, Stop Relying Too Much on Your New Mentor

You will, undoubtedly, move to people who will make you feel the most comfortable and they will become your go-tos as you go through your first week. However, you should remember that the time they will spend in helping you out will be time taken away from their own important tasks. So, be sensitive to this by figuring things out on your own at first and then ask people when you have unanswered questions. Not only will this help you learn more on your own, it will also demonstrate appreciation for others who are helping you out.

Keep Your Boss Informed at All (Appropriate) Times

All throughout the week, you should look for periodic meetings with your boss, instead of randomly popping in his or her office for every little question you have. Along with getting their direction on tasks and projects, you should also use this time to update them on everything that you are learning and the people you plan to meet.

Ask questions like, “IS there any additional task I should be taking on or any skills that I should be learning?” or “Can you please provide me some feedback on the tasks I just completed?” to show initiative and also that you can be a good listener. The feedback and insight that your boss will give you will be one of the greatest resources at this early stage – you will be spending the next weeks, months and even years working for him or her, and so learning how they think will serve you well.

Give Up Comparisons with Your Last Job

What’s the point… you’ve left that job?

It is easy for you to rattle off things you loved about your last job and how it all compares with your new job – but don’t! You should be looking for ways to shine and that means you should be keeping your first week impressions to your own self. You are in a new place and this is a completely new opportunity, so move forward and embrace it.

Don’t Be Late. Ever!

This piece of advice is actually a no-brainer and it actually is a key to success at your new workplace. Showing up on time will help you build a positive impression of yourself and your boss will take you seriously. This will also show your boss that you are still as enthusiastic about your new job as you were when you were giving the interview (unless you were late for your interview!).

Dress Accordingly

You were hired for a specific reason. Now it is time to look the part. It is always a good idea to overdress a little in the beginning, however, you should also keep the company culture in mind. Nothing will scream “newbie” louder than a sharp ironed black suit on your first day at a hip start-up where everyone dresses like Mark Zuckerberg. A good way to fit in perfectly is to ask your supervisors about the dress code.Check out this blog on Top Tips to Dress for Success.

Know What is Expected of You

Do you know your trade to get results? If not, then that is what the first week is for. You should sit down with your boss and go over your job description, hashing out everything that is unclear to you. You will soon find that it will make your work much easier and your boss will be very impressed with this proactive attitude of yours.

Remember to Leave Your Personal Issues at Home

We all have been in that situation – the nagging Whatsapp icon on your smartphone, begging you to respond and you finding yourself dying to tell your friends about this new job you just landed. No matter how tempting this might be, you should definitely hold off until your next break to pick up that phone of yours and start updating your social media profiles. It is critical to make a good first impression and you will want to restrain from using your phone to use social media, take care of personal emails or check out cat videos on YouTube.

Conclusion

Acing that first week at work is always critical to your job success. If you follow these points mentioned above as much as you can, you will find yourself in your boss’s good books. Have you recently moved to a new workplace? How did you manage your first week with a new team? Share your experiences in the comment section below. Moreover, you should also check our blog on 4 Jobs That Will Remain Relevant Despite Automation Technology.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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