Here’s How to Start Your New Job On the Right Foot

Posted by Pat Tovo

start a new job on the right footCongratulations!  You’ve landed that cleared job you wanted and your first day is approaching. You were smart about your job search and now you will need to put those same smarts into a strategy for being successful in the new role.

From day one you will need to start building a solid foundation so here is a game plan for a successful transition.

The Basics

Be on time. No, I take that back. Arrive early. You don’t have to show up an hour before your start time, but being at your desk when co-workers – and your boss – arrive shows you are enthusiastic and can be counted on. Map out directions before your first day and do a dry run during the morning rush. You may think you know how much time it will take to get there but morning traffic could surprise you.

You also need to dress appropriately. There are dress code categories like professional, business casual or plain old casual, but those can mean different things in different workplaces. Hopefully during your interview you were able to meet with a few colleagues. Take a cue from what you saw. More importantly make sure your clothes are clean and crisp, shoes shined, and personal grooming impeccable. Any questions? Ask your recruiter or hiring manager for their advice.

Develop a 60-Day Plan

Your first day will probably be a rush of filling out paper work and learning your way around the office, but as soon as you can, ask for a sit down with your supervisor to discuss expectations. Bring the job description with you and ask any questions you may have about protocol regarding job duties. Ask for an update on department projects and how you will fit in. Most importantly, develop a list of quantifiable goals for the first 60 days.

Another vital discussion you should have with your boss is regarding reporting procedures. Does he want to hear progress reports from you daily or weekly?  Are reports to be verbal or written?  Does he see your interaction as formal meetings or casual drop-ins?  Make sure you are clear on expectations. If he encourages you to work autonomously that’s terrific but don’t forgo regular conversations. You don’t want to get too far along with a project to find out you’ve gotten off base somewhere.

Get to Know Your Co-Workers

Your focus in the first few weeks will be on learning the job but don’t forget to socialize with colleagues. It’s important to establish solid relationships from week one. Fitting in to an established department can be intimidating. Yes, they are sizing you up. Reality is though that they want you to be a contributing member of the team. Ask questions. Offer to help on a big project. Compliment their work or even their clothes. Get to know about them personally. This doesn’t mean be a busy-body; it means show you care about building a relationship.

Be Easy on Yourself

The first few weeks on the job you are going to feel like you’re out in left field. You don’t know how to operate that huge copier. The phone system is complicated. You can’t remember everyone’s name. Slow down and give yourself a break. No one expects you to know everything from the get-go. If you spend a lot of time beating yourself up you won’t be focusing on the important stuff like doing good work. Breathe deeply through the challenges and know that the uncertainty will pass.

Pay Attention and Listen

Procedures and policies on the new job are not going to be exactly the same as they were at your old company. Pay attention to what you learn in orientation about day-to-day processes. Listen attentively in meetings; ask questions. Don’t immediately jump in with criticisms about what can be improved. You probably weren’t hired to overhaul the company or the program, and the time will come when you have the opportunity to make a contribution. But for now listen more, talk less.

Go for the Gold

Get off on the right foot by setting your standards high. You won’t be familiar with everything you need to know and that’s why it’s even more important to be diligent in your efforts. Check and double check your work. When in doubt, seek advice. Make sure your co-workers know that you care about company goals and that you want to be a productive member of the team. An initial demonstration of a solid work ethic will go far in making a lasting impression with colleagues.

Good cleared jobs can be hard to find. When you land the one that is right for you make those first sixty days the best they can be. Work smart. Listen more than you talk. Be a team player. And enjoy your success.

Pat Tovo guides job seekers in conducting successful employment searches through targeted prospecting, effective resume writing, and polished interviewing skills. She enjoys facilitating workshops and working one-on-one in career counseling. 


This entry was posted on Sunday, September 10, 2017 7:53 pm

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