Getting the job is just the beginning of your journey. You’ve now got to set yourself up for success, and your first few months in this new role will often be the litmus test. In fact, many people argue that the first 90 days of a new job are actually an extension of the interview process. And your new employer is always watching to make sure their investment was a wise one. So, you’ve really got to make a plan on how you’ll approach your first day, first week, first month, and so on.
Naturally, this leads us to the question: How do you ensure a successful start from day one? Here are my thoughts on the topic:
1. Start before day one
You know what they say about being on time: You’re already late. Well, the same goes for your start date. Lay the groundwork for a smooth first day by contacting your manager for recommendations on how to prepare for the job. And, of course, confirm the start time and what you’ll be doing on your first day.
2. Ask questions
More and more companies are now pairing new hires with senior associates to help show them the ropes. If that’s the case, you’ve already got someone to ask questions about the organization, culture, procedures, etc. If not, then I always suggest looking for the friendliest person on the team. More often than not, they’ll be happy to tell you how and why things are done. Besides, your questions will give them an opportunity to consider how the company approaches certain processes and whether those processes are clear. After all, you’re probably not the only person wondering.
3. Understand expectations
You probably have a general idea of your responsibilities and duties, but there’s much more to a job than day-to-day operations. There’s an expectation for everything from communication and working styles to priorities, processes, and results. In the first month of your new job, set aside time to talk to your manager — one-on-one, preferably — about his or her expectations. And while you’re at it, figure out the best use of your one-on-ones to take full advantage of his or her expertise. If you don’t know where the bar is set, it’s hard to rise to it.
4. Get to know your surroundings
Chances are, you’ll get a tour of the office on your first day. Obviously, you’ll want to make mental note of all the locations you’ll likely need on a daily basis, like restroom, supply room, break room, and conference space. But take full advantage of the tour and ask questions about the different departments in the company — or even recommendations for where to have a bite to eat, drop off dry cleaning, or grab dinner after work. Your professional surroundings encompass more than just your office space.
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5. Mind your 'Ps and Cues'
That may not be the typical adage, but it works all the same. You certainly want to mind your manners at work, but you also want to follow your manager’s lead, especially during your first days on the job. If he or she has your whole day scheduled, go along with it — and enthusiastically, at that. Even after a month on the job, you don’t know enough about the job, company, or manager to second-guess directives.
6. Watch your workload
Another area to of pay close attention to during your first few months is your workload. Your manager doesn’t necessarily know the rate at which you’ll catch on to the inner workings of the job unless you let him or her know. And part of checking in with management is to let someone know whether you’re taking on too much – or too little – work. This will allow your manager to adjust the pace of work and provide additional training or resources if necessary.
7. Recognize what’s working
A new job comes with a very heavy task: To learn as much as you can and turn it into a value for the company. Part of what you’ll learn, however, is what it will take for you to succeed in the role — all workers are unique, after all. Take a step back regularly to weigh how your work habits are helping and hindering your performance. Hold yourself accountable by adapting to your new work environment and ditching what isn’t working for you at this time.
8. Bring your true self
You were hired for a reason, and that reason goes well beyond your skills and experience. You were the perfect fit for the job, company, and culture. Don’t let nervousness stifle your personality — you know, the personality you shared at each round of interviews. Feel confident enough to bring your true self to the workplace. Otherwise, you’re just shortchanging yourself and your new coworkers. If you’d like more information on this or any other employment topic, please contact us! We’d be more than happy to answer your questions and concerns, or discuss potential job opportunities if you’re currently looking for a new challenge in your career.