Congratulations on starting a new job! You survived the hiring process and emerged victorious, confident and eager to begin your first day of work.
You feel energized and secure in the knowledge that of all the candidates, they identified you as the right person for the job.
So, how do you put your best foot forward and master your new job as quickly as possible?
As with most things, there isn’t one-solution-fits-all. These tips, however, will help you make the most of this opportunity:
Take a thorough look at who you are right now. What skills do you have? In your previous jobs, what behaviors were you known for—lateness, making friends, challenging rules, initiating celebrations?
What do you believe about people, work and the new company? Jot all this down. Be honest. You need to look at your real self in order to make changes.
Next think about the skills and experiences you want to have after working for this new company for a year or two. What reputation do you want to gain at the new job?
Jot these down on a second page. Again, be honest. This is your opportunity to develop the new and improved professional you.
Placing your lists side by side, create a strategy for getting from list number 1 to list number 2. Think about what strengths, attitude and behaviors you’ll need to bridge that gap.
Your new company may give you an orientation to help you get on board. Don’t assume they’ll tell you all you really need to know. Take initiative.
After you identify and greet key people—your boss, colleagues – who do what you do (or close to it), resource personnel (mail room, facilities, IT) and long-term employees—set up appointments to meet with these individuals.
Prepare a list of questions so you can learn as much as you can about expectations for your role, how the company operates day-to-day and how to find resources you can draw upon.
Many companies have casual dress codes. For your first couple of weeks, err on the side of caution.
Dress conservatively. You don’t want your first interaction with HR to be an executive informing you that your flip flops are not appropriate footwear.
You researched the company for your job interview. Now that you are inside, it’s time to research even more. Companies exist to serve customers, and your company is no different.
Find out what attracts customers to your company and what keeps them coming back. After several weeks you should be able to cite your company’s mission to anyone who asks.
A vital factor in success on the job is not your skills but how those skills mesh with the corporate culture. Find out how your boss likes to receive information: fast and in-person, through email or formal reports.
What’s the policy/practice around lunch hours, time off and work assignments? Understanding corporate culture helps you to be most effective in your work.
You’ll want to fit in at your new job and build meaningful relationships. Go for it, but be careful who you latch onto or vice versa. Unhappy employees buddy up to “newbies” deliberately to gain a sympathizer.
Be friendly and open with everyone, but make an effort to get to know the individual. Listen to what they’re saying and how they say it before you decide if this is the person you want beside you every day at lunch.
An effective way to learn about a company is to get right to work. Include other people by asking lots of questions of co-workers. It’s a great way to get to know people, help them get to know you, and get the work done to boot.
Don’t forget to share the credit. If your boss praises you, let him/her know who helped you. This will earn you a friend at work and tell your boss that you are a team player.
New employees often jump in to tackle large workloads. You do want challenges and to impress your boss. Just be careful that you don’t set a precedent for coming in early and leaving late or turning around 3-days’ worth of work in only 1 day.
These aren’t bad things, but you don’t want to set the mark so high that these behaviors become expectations for you.
You have a life outside of work and honoring those boundaries from day one is the best way to go. After all, when every part of your life is balanced, you’ll find greater success and fulfillment on the job.