You wrote an impressive cover letter, aced the job interview, negotiated a competitive salary, and now you’re ready to start your new job. There’s just one thing: How do you start your first week strong?
Starting a new job can seem daunting, no matter how excited you are, but there are some tips and tricks you can implement to make things go more smoothly. Here are seven tips to help guide you through your first week of work and beyond.
Connect With Your Manager
Keeping your boss up-to-date is one of the most important steps to take in order to start your new job on the right track. Once you’ve begun work, ask for regular meetings with your manager. Get his or her input on your projects, and keep him or her updated on what you’re learning and whom you’re meeting with.
You can ask your manager for recommendations on how you should begin work or complete certain tasks. After an assignment wraps up, check in to see if he or she can provide any feedback.
You can also better connect with your boss by learning his or her routines, expectations, and communication style. Does your manager prefer to communicate via email, in-person, or through apps like Slack? What are his or her expectations during that first week, and how will those change as you progress in your role?
Make sure to ask questions and clarify expectations so that you and your manager are on the same page. It’s better to ask questions instead of making assumptions that could potentially lead to bigger mistakes. Remember that you’re not expected to know everything at first, and it’s better to ask for help than to guess. Important questions to consider asking include:
- Are there additional responsibilities or skills I should take on?
- Can you give me feedback on the assignment I just completed?
- What are the most important projects I am expected to work on?
- What else would you like me to accomplish?
- What types of decisions can I make independently, and when do I need your approval?
- How is my performance being measured?
- How often would you like me to keep you updated?
Don’t Take on Too Much, Too Soon
It’s important not to become overwhelmed when starting a new job. Don’t take on additional assignments too soon or volunteer for too many projects. Focus on the work you’ve been given, and when you’ve successfully completed those tasks, then you can add more work to your plate. Taking on too many responsibilities can lead to mistakes, missed deadlines, and incomplete work. After you’ve had time to meet with your co-workers and understand your employer’s goals, then you’ll be able to tackle more challenging assignments. Remember that the last thing you want to do is burn out when you’re starting a new position.
Focus on Understanding the Culture
Your office culture shapes your professional relationships and individual approach to work. Learn more about the organizational culture, along with the spoken and unspoken rules. Observe and listen to everything around you. Whether you’re figuring out what time your colleagues usually get their afternoon coffee to how they approach upper management, pay attention to your surroundings. Are you working in an open office space or in separate cubicles? How often do people communicate with each other, and is it usually via email or in-person? Are their tones playful or serious, and do they value autonomy or teamwork?
Engaging with your colleagues can also help you understand the culture. Ask your co-workers what it’s like working for your employer, and if they have any tips on how you can adjust to the new job.
In addition to learning more about the culture, socializing is an important part of establishing professional relationships. Smile, be friendly, and get to know people. Take your co-workers out to lunch and ask about their interests. Learning more about your colleagues will help you develop stronger relationships and make it easier to collaborate.
At the same time, don’t judge others too quickly. The quiet person sitting across from you could be supportive and helpful, while your outgoing co-worker could be secretly manipulative. Avoid cliques, commenting on personal issues, or gossiping about your new colleagues. Take your time getting to know your co-workers and make connections outside of your immediate team. In almost any position, there are people around you who can help you excel at your job.
Ask for Feedback and Admit Mistakes
Feedback is especially helpful when starting a new job, so make sure you’re asking for input to help you excel in your role. Ask your boss how you’re doing on assignments, and if he or she has any advice to help you improve on future tasks. When you make a mistake, don’t get defensive or confrontational. Admit your mistake, and take the steps needed to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Find a Mentor
Mentors can help make or break your job. Find a mentor within your company who can offer much-needed advice on how to navigate your new role. By finding a mentor, you can gain more confidence in your current position, become a more knowledgeable employee, and excel in your career.
Are you interested in hearing more from the employer perspective? Read on for “7 Tips for Building Your Professional Network,” “4 Ways Multi-Tasking Decreases Productivity (And How To Avoid It),” and “Tips For Building Your Personal Brand.”