Keys to Success When Starting Your New Job
You spent days and nights researching the company, editing your resume, and preparing your talking points. You nailed the interview, received an offer, and accepted. You stretched your budget and bought some new outfits so you could make a great first impression.
Congratulations, this is your first day at the new job. Now comes the hard part.
Whether you’re stepping into a familiar role or starting another career, a new job is a major life change that comes with an equal amount of excitement and uncertainty. All that pressure from the job search is gone, and it’s been replaced by pressure to perform in your new position. You want to validate management’s decision to hire you and show your colleagues that you’re reliable, but this can’t happen if you don’t start off on the right foot.
When you’re interviewing for a job, it’s always a good idea to ask the hiring manager about the expectations for the position for the first month, three months, and even six months down the road. These benchmarks are important to bring up again on your first day. Not because you weren’t paying attention during the interview, but because the expectations might have changed. You don’t know if your company has added some new work processes since your interview, or installed new software that’s going to require additional training. These things can change the previously discussed timeline. Revisiting this topic and setting expectations on the first day ensures you and your boss are on the same page.
Although it can take many weeks or months to truly “learn” your position, an orientation is critical when you start a new job. You’ll need to know everything from corporate policies, to software commands, and even where to find stationary in your office. It is a major failure of management to “throw a new hire in the deep end” without so much as a tour of the building, but it can happen.
Even if you’re performing a task you’ve performed 1,000 times before, you need to know how to do it correctly at your new company. Don’t assume you’ll pick everything up as you go along; ask your boss or co-workers on the first day if there are any company manuals you need to study. If everyone in the office is busy, reach out to human resources. Many companies will assign a co-worker on your same level to be your mentor during the first weeks on the job. That can help you adjust to your role while also forging a new relationship.
Observe and Take Notes
From the moment you walk through the front door of your new company, you should be keeping a mental Rolodex of details. Start by learning the names and positions of everyone in your department, find out how they contribute to the company mission, and in what ways you’ll need to work with them. If you work in a very large company, you might want to spend the first few lunch breaks of your new job exploring the campus. The more familiar you become with everything, the easier it will be for you to settle in and perform at your best.
You can’t expect to know everything the minute you arrive at your new desk. That’s why it’s critical to get answers to your questions. Being 100 percent prepared and knowledgeable is nothing to be embarrassed about, and your colleagues and boss will respect you for showing initiative early, rather than asking for help down the road when you should probably know what you’re doing.
Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.