8 Tips for a Successful Start at a New Job

Friday, July 16th, 2010

It can take four to 14 months to find the right job, and fewer than 90 days to lose it. Statistics show that dismissals of professionals and managers are a direct result of a failure to understand and fit into a company’s culture.

During your first few weeks on a job your boss and colleagues will form their most lasting impressions of you. While no reasonable employer expects perfection, as long as you prove yourself to be intelligent, versatile and willing to learn, people will be happy you joined their team and want you to succeed.

Here are a few essential tips to help you get off to a great start:

1. Take a break.

  • Ideally, take a week-long break between jobs to clear your head, relax and refocus.
  • If that’s not possible, at least have a good night’s sleep so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed.

2. Do your research.

  • Start by reading through your new employers’ website, especially any sections on their history or policies.
  • Search online for back issues of their newsletters, annual reports or press clippings.
  • If you have enough time, it is also worthwhile to check out the literature of your competitors to get a grasp on the “bigger picture.”
  • Review your interview notes to recall the names and titles of people you met so you will be able to greet them appropriately.

3. Work full days.

  • Find out where to go on your first day and what time you should be there. Then, arrive early and don’t leave until (or even after) most of your colleagues do.
  • Pay attention to the work habits and schedules of your co-workers so you’ll know when and how to connect with them.

4. Look Good and Have a Positive Attitude.

  • All eyes will be on you! Consider the way you will appear to others.
  • Pay attention to grooming, dress tastefully and put a smile on your face.
  • While appearances aren’t everything, dressing slightly above dress code and acting in a manner that says you are confident and happy to be joining the team will speak volumes about you.

5. Clarify expectations of you and take notes.

  • Make sure you and your boss are on the same page about issues to be addressed immediately, how you should communicate and provide updates, when projects are due and how your performance will be evaluated.
  • Write down names of key people, contact information and procedures so you won’t get stuck if no one is around to assist you.

6. Be flexible.

  • Expect and embrace challenges; you’re bound to face them in any new job.
  • Possess a flexible attitude to decrease both your stress and that of others who work with you.

7. Connect with others.

  • Get to know the people you will work with regularly.
  • Listen to what your co-workers have to say and resist offering opinions at first.
  • Show appreciation for those who help you.
  • Identify key players. Who are the decision-makers, stars and up-and-comers? Notice the traits they possess.
  • Don’t engage in office gossip.
  • Share credit with your colleagues.
  • Observe your boss’ personality and operational style; interact according to his or her preferences.

8. Take initiative.

  • As you finish initial assignments and are ready to handle a bigger workload, ask for it.
  • Pay attention to projects that are important to upper management and valued by your colleagues.

Contributor: Danielle Knowles

Danielle Knowles is a Feature Writer for Fraser Valley Pulse, as well as the owner of Red Pencil Editing Services. She loves to laugh, go on adventures and read.  Danielle lives in Abbotsford with her husband and fur babies Oogie Boogie and Mungo. Twitter: @redpencilca

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