How to Effectively Start a New Job

While starting a new job can be a stressful experience, this important transition doesn't have to be full of tension and anxiety.

With the right strategies and with a positive outlook, stepping into your new role can be exciting and enjoyable.

Starting A New Job

Tips to help you on your way

  • Make sure you understand from your first day why you were hired and what your goals are for the first 6–12 months. This can help with your direction in the weeks to come.
  • It's not weak to ask for help. If you don't know how or where to find the information you need, you'll waste your time if you search for it yourself. Ask your boss or colleagues for help when you need it.
  • Avoid making comparisons between your new company and your old company. Your new team doesn't want to hear "At my old job, we used to…" Focus on what you need to do now, not what or how you did something in the past.
  • If someone on your new team does not respond well to you, don't take it personally – at least in the beginning. Remember, you might be in a role that someone else used to have, and that person might have been a friend of this team member.

Find something to do

Not sure what to do with yourself after you’ve been introduced to everybody? See this as valuable research time before you’re given specific tasks. Learn everything you can about how your role fits in with the rest of the company and take notes on what you learn. Also, don’t be afraid to take the initiative and ask for work.

Reinforce your new connections on social media

Once you're officially on the job, it's important to update your title across your own social media platforms and also start following your new company and colleagues. As you meet new people, cement the relationships by finding them on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Enjoy yourself as with change there comes opportunity!

A few days into your new job:

  • Try to get a hang of the rules. Not just the ones written in the manual (though you should definitely know those ones too.) Observe what people wear, especially on casual Fridays, and to important meetings (in the hope that one day you, too, will attend such important meetings). How do people work? Is it common practice to take work home? During your first week, come to office a bit early, and leave late: how many people do the same thing? Is it acceptable practice to take long tea or lunch breaks? Where do most people have their lunch? How do people treat each other? Is there a lot of joking around, or is everyone very serious?
  • Get to know the people you’ll work with. Go to lunch with them, or to drinks after work (and don’t get drunk). Be careful in your interactions: be friendly and interested, but don’t offer any gossip or negative opinions. You won’t know immediately what the political undercurrents are.
  • Become friendly with strategically important people. This includes secretaries, especially, who have access to otherwise secret information.
  • Find out who the high-flyers in your company are. They are not necessarily people already in the top. There may be someone rising very fast. Try to pick these people’s brains. Hang out with them as often as you can.
  • Be friendly! Just so that people don’t think you’re cold-hearted, manipulative and ambitious, be friendly with everyone.
  • Get to know your bosses. You should have been introduced to your immediate supervisor by know. Find out who you will be reporting to if that isn’t the person who interviewed you.
  • If you don’t have much work during the first few days, use your spare time to go through old company documents that you have access to for company information. Decide what things you’d like to find out, and search for them on your PC and intranet.
  • Find out your work priorities from your supervisor. Get some work to do. Do it. Get feedback. Initially, you should try to get feedback ASAP, so that you can make changes as needed.
  • If you’re not being given much work, ask for something to do. If you still don’t have much to do, ask your new colleagues if you can help them in any way. But don’t get sucked into the “I’d really appreciate it if you’d get me some coffee” trap. Unless it’s your boss that’s asking you to do that.
  • Never refuse offers of help.
  • Get involved! During the first few days, try to never turn down an invite to an office party, or just an invite to “hang out with the guys”.
  • Never negatively compare your new job with your old job. If you do, people might think that you want your old job back, and that you don’t like your new one.

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