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Successful Start To A New Job

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Congratulations! Your job hunt has been a success and you start your new job on Monday. There are a few things you can do right off the bat that will increase your chances of success at that new job.

Getting Ready

Now that they have made you a job offer, the company has invested time and effort in getting ready for your arrival, a process known as onboarding. You will want to make a similar effort. Since, you prepared for your job interview by studying the company you already know a bit about the company, its industry, its people and culture. But before you show up on your first day take the time to do a little more homework.

If you have a contact inside the company, you can check with them on things like dress code, the company culture, and how the company welcomes newbies. Even if you didn’t have a friend who helped you get the job, you may still have contacts there. Be sure to check your social media sites, like LinkedIn, where second or even third degree connections will be willing to help you out now that you are a new employee rather than “just” a job seeker.

You can also contact the company's Human Resources (HR) department, if they have one, with any questions about the onboarding process, where to park, when to arrive, where to check in, etc.

Day One

For a first day on the job the basic rule is “talk less, listen more”. Unless you were specifically hired to shake things up; unless the hiring manager said something like, “I want to see you turn things around from the start”, take some time to observe and learn before you start pushing your own agenda.

You will meet a lot of people the first day. Try to remember as many names as you can, but realize that no one expects you to remember everyone at first.

Many of the people you meet will be eager to tell you what’s wrong with your boss, your team, and your associates, and they will tell you what you need to do about it. Listen politely and just file the information away for when you have a better understanding of the speaker. Don’t act on any of this free “advice” until you have a better understanding of the whole situation.

And when people ask you about your background, “So where did you work before here?” stay professional when you talk about your previous job. Don’t speak negatively about the company or any of the people there.

First Month

Having gotten past the first day or two you will start to settle into the new job and the new company. You will want to start as early as you can to make a name for yourself at the new company, but you want it to be based on your work and not on your comments. Be friendly, smile a lot, ask lots of questions and keep notes of what you learn. Stay focused on being productive.

Make time to go to lunch with your new associates. You may feel you are so busy that you don’t have time; that you would be better off eating at your desk and working through lunch, but that is short-sighted. By spending the time with your coworkers, you begin to build social bonds and develop your network. You also can learn a lot in this more relaxed situation.

As you start to settle in and feel comfortable at the new job, don’t get too pushy. Comments like, “That's not how we did it at my old company” won’t win you any points and will probably cost you some. Your position as the new person will give you a special perspective on the company’s business practices. Many things will be different. Ask lots of questions and make sure you understand the whole picture before you start making suggestions for improvements, but don’t be afraid to speak up when your fresh perspective can help the company. Just be diplomatic and positive when you do.

Bottom Line

No matter how overwhelmed you may be at first, don’t let people get the impression that you can’t handle the job. When you run into the boss in the lunch room and he asks, How are things going?” it’s okay to admit that “Sometimes I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose” but be sure to add a confident note, “But things are going well. I’ve learned a lot and I feel I’m already making a contribution.” You wanted this new job. Now you’ve got it. Make it a success.
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