The week or so after you start a new job is an exciting time—but also a busy and stressful one. While in the midst of training, you’re also expected to slowly take on a full load of responsibility. You want to show your new manager that he or she made the right decision. You’re in a new environment, and perhaps you’ve even moved to a new city for the gig. It’s easy, and understandable, to just do as you’re told and not much more, but trust us—taking a few extra steps will not only help you transition quicker but also set you up better for the future. These are the 10 things smart employees do to make a solid first-week impression.
Whether or not you’ve stayed within the same industry, it’s wise to shoot your old contacts an email (a BCC email is fine) telling them that you’ve changed positions and giving them your new contact information. If you expect or would like to work with them professionally again, let them know that you’ll be in touch personally soon and that you look forward to working with them again.
During the first week, your new manager will likely have a training session with you, or at the very least, a meeting. During that time, make a point to find out what he or she expects from you during that week, the first month, and the next three months. If need be, set aside time on his or her calendar to discuss; it will show that you’re dedicated to performing well.
It may not feel natural to you talk about yourself, but it’s a necessity. As you meet and begin to work with new colleagues, they’ll want to know where you came from, what you’re doing at their company, and why your manager hired you over everyone else—of course, they won’t say so explicitly. It’s also very likely they may not have known about your job opening. So fine-tune a “pitch” that introduces your role and experience to others and accentuates your value.
It’s likely that your new manager walked you around the office on the first day and introduced you to a few people, but you may have already forgotten their names or positions. If you find yourself in a social atmosphere, say the watercooler, spark a conversation and reintroduce yourself or ask your new colleagues to remind you of their names and roles. It’s a small but memorable way to develop a lasting relationship.
Once you figure out who you’ll be working closely with (aside from your manager), ask him or her to lunch. It will give you a chance to get to know each other better, and it will show your teammate that you’re excited to be working together. While you’re at it, make a point to directly ask for tips and tricks, be it for favourite lunch spots or input on dealing with a client. More often than not, people are happy to offer help and flattered when you ask, and it shows that you value their input.
Human resources may have handed you a manual encompassing all manner of company codes, but often the most important codes are unwritten. Do your best to listen attentively during meetings, and make an effort to observe how others are behaving around the office and directly toward you. This will give you a better sense of the general atmosphere, hierarchy, and spirit of your new company than any one-sheet can.
You should most certainly learn the layout of your office within the first week—if you can, ask HR for a floor plan. Find out where the printer/copier, the kitchen, and the conference rooms are located. Likewise, get acclimated to your workplace neighborhood. Ask around for the best lunch spots. Locate your nearest bank, pharmacy, and post office. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
A person’s first-day-on-the-job outfit is rarely the one he or she will be wearing a year later. Especially in this day and age when casual Fridays are practically every day, it’s important to take note of how your colleagues dress and then to outfit your wardrobe accordingly—regardless of what’s in the rulebook. Dressing too formally can make you seem out of touch or arrogant, and looking too casual can make you seem uncommitted. If everyone is in a suit, follow their lead. If people are stylish but not “business professional,” ditch the interview-day blazer and go for something more relaxed yet powerful.
If you haven’t been introduced yet, seek out the IT director and make sure you’re familiar with the company’s tech. Learn how to make an outgoing call, join a conference call, and Skype remote employees in. Make sure your landline and voicemail are set up. If your company supplies you with a mobile phone, ensure your email and other apps are properly installed as well. When your boss sees that you’re not bashful when it comes to technology, he or she will be impressed.
Smile, be happy, and totally immerse yourself in your new role. There will come a time when everything is old, unchallenging, and uninspiring to you. Enjoy these early months when you’re learning something completely new every day and when the world is your oyster. You’re lucky to be where you are.