Finding a Job

Hit the ground running in your new job

Those first few days in a new job will always be a bit intimidating no matter how much experience you bring. Here are a few tips to help you get up to speed quickly and get off on the right foot with your new manager and co-workers.

Ask Questions, Ask Questions, Ask Questions

When you are new you have the liberty to ask questions unhindered – take full advantage – As you learn about new processes, projects, and people, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to get up to speed, and people will expect it from the new person on the team. Also take down detailed notes about everything you learn, even if it seems simple. Your brain is going to be on overload at the start, and writing everything down will make sure you don’t have to ask the same question twice.

Suck it up like a Sponge

You should be absorbing everything. No point in asking questions if it doesn’t sink in. Getting to know your company’s culture, the working and communication styles of your teammates, the problem projects, office politics, and department or company-wide goals as quickly as possible will mean that you’ll be able to start your real work sooner (and be more effective when you do).

Go to the new hire orientation, sign up for professional development classes, and attend all the team and office meetings you can, even if you’re not yet sure what’s going on or they don’t directly relate to your work. Make sure to join in on any informal events too. If you get asked to lunch, happy hour, or the office softball league (either as a participant or spectator), say yes. It’s a great way to meet people, and it shows that you’re excited to be part of the team.

Don’t Overcommit Yourself

Be careful, to balance your schedule—you want to have plenty of time to learn the ropes from your desk. The last thing you want is to look like before you have time to prove yourself is that you have too much to juggle, seem overwhelmed, or show up late to a commitment because you’re stuck somewhere else.

Speak Up

Don’t be afraid to contribute and add value— there is a reason that they hired you so be ready to speak up and reinforce that you’re the right person for the job! No, you won’t know everything (nor should you act like you do!), but you can make suggestions in team meetings or brainstorming sessions, or ask questions like, “Has this been tried before?” And if you have a skill or ability that you’ve been hired to bring to the team, step up and share that knowledge. But be careful to read your audience. You don’t want to come on like gangbusters or step on someone’s toes.

Offer to Help

There may be some down time during your first few days on the job as your manager and team adjust to having you there. Don’t sit around waiting for others to figure out tasks for you—volunteer to help your new teammates on a project. You’ll show initiative, you’ll build rapport with your boss and co-workers, and you’ll learn about expectations, procedures, and how things are done.

Take the Advice or Help that is offered

If your new manager or co-workers give you advice or offers to help you with a task or project, take them up on it—yes, even if you’re totally capable of handling things yourself. It’s a great way to bond with your office mates, plus you may get valuable insight into the company’s expectations or a more efficient way to do the work you’ll be given.

Find an early Mentor

It never hurts to have an experienced, knowledgeable, successful professional to bounce ideas off of and be groomed by, but it’s especially useful when you’re the newbie. Look around. Who are the stars of the organization—the ones who radiate likability, confidence, and initiative? Introduce yourself, and pick their brains. Undoubtedly, the people who make you feel most comfortable will become your “go-to” people as you navigate your first few weeks. But remember the time it takes for people to help you out is time being taken away from their own tasks. Be sensitive to this by trying to figure things out for yourself first, asking a variety of people when you do have questions, and showing appreciation for everyone who helps you out.

Keep Your Boss Informed

Ask to set up periodic meetings with your manager (instead of popping in her office for every question you have!). In addition to getting her direction on projects and tasks, you should use this time to update her on what you’re learning and who you’re meeting with. Ask questions like “Are there additional tasks I should be taking on or skills I should be learning?” and “Can you give me feedback on the project I just completed?” to show initiative, but also do a lot of listening, too. Your boss’ feedback and insight is going to be one of your greatest resources at this point—after all, you’re going to be spending the next weeks, months, and maybe even years working for her, and learning how she thinks early on will serve you well.

Don’t Compare Everything to Your Last Job

You want to give yourself every opportunity to shine, and that means keeping your initial first week impressions to yourself. As tempting as it may be to initiate conversations, don’t spend your time rattle off things you loved (or loathed) about your last job and how this position compares. You’re in a new place, and this is a new opportunity, so embrace it and move forward!


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