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Starting a new job is bound to be a little intimidating no matter how long you’ve been in the game; you don’t know anyone, you’re not sure how things are done or what will be expected of you, and everything from the lunchroom to the photocopy machine is unfamiliar territory.
If you want to make a good first impression and set the stage for the rest of your time with the company, though, it’s important to come prepared and make the first few weeks count. Here are a few tips for doing just that.
1. Make an effort to introduce yourself and establish connections
Getting to know as many people as possible will make your transition into the new workplace easier, so try to get out of your comfort zone by greeting and introducing yourself to those you cross paths with. It’s especially important to find out who you’ll be directly working with so you can have a little chat, find out what their roles are and open up clear lines of communication early on.
If you’re invited to go for lunch or drinks after work, make an effort to join in even if you’d rather eat on your own or go straight home, as it’s a great way to show your new coworkers that you’re genuinely interested in getting to know them. Collaborating on tasks can also be an easy way to bond, so don’t be too quick to turn down offers of help, even if it’s something you could probably figure out on your own.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
During your first few weeks on the job, you might be tempted to try to figure things out on your own rather than ask for help, but rest assured that no one is going to see your questions as a nuisance. It’s perfectly normal to have questions, and the more you find out now, the more efficiently you’ll be able to do your job later down the line.
If you do find yourself with multiple questions and would rather not take anyone away from their work for too long, make a list of everything you’d like to have explained in more detail and then ask your manager or overseer when it would be convenient for them to sit down and go over it with you.
3. Write things down
While there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, writing everything down will ensure that you never have to ask the same question more than once.
You’ll be taking in a lot of new information during your first few weeks and your brain can quickly become overloaded, so even if something doesn’t seem complicated at the time, take notes every time you’re given an answer or explanation or learn of a new company procedure or rule. You can also take down your coworker’s names along with a brief description of what they do to avoid any mix-ups.
4. Take some initiative
No one expects you to solve all of the company’s problems or singlehandedly increase profits during your first month on the job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some initiative and show your employers that they made the right choice when they hired you.
If you haven’t been given any tasks to work on or have finished your initial assignments earlier than expected, don’t just hang around waiting for someone to tell you what to do next. Be proactive and ask what you should tackle next or volunteer to help out with a specific project.
5. Stay positive and try not to compare
You don’t want to be that person who is stuck in the past and constantly harping on about the way they did things in their previous job. It will take some time to adjust to your new work environment, of course, but try to stay positive and avoid comparing your new workplace with your old one.
Keep in mind that while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making constructive suggestions if you think something could be done more efficiently, you do need to go through the right channels or you’ll risk coming across as negative, arrogant or both.
Marianne Stenger is a writer with Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She covers everything from life hacks and career development to learning tips and the latest research in education. You can connect with her on Google+ and Twitter, or find her latest articles here.
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