|  February 27, 2014

3 Tips for Your First Week at a New Job

So you got the job! It’s now time to transition from thinking nonstop about the job search to thinking about the job itself, and how you’re going to be great at it.

The first week at any new job can be daunting and exciting all at the same time. Especially if you’re coming from a job you were in for a while, there’s a lot of transitioning that’s about to happen.

During my time working in HR, I’ve seen lots of new hires come into the companies I’ve worked for – all excited, many nervous, and most a little disoriented at first. Here are my top 3 tips you need to know for your first week at a new job:

first week at a new job

Don’t ignore the logistics:

There are going to be a lot of details coming at you – where the bathroom is, how to access the building, when to sign up for benefits, what the company policies are, how to get business cards, etc. While it can be hard to absorb it all, it’s so important to pay attention.

For example, at most companies if you miss benefits enrollment when you join, you might not get to sign up for up to another year! If you clearly get instructions on how to get your business cards and then re-ask the question, you might come off as disorganized.

Your first week at a new job is going to be information-overload, and most likely, people are going to cut you a bit of slack. That being said, do your best to take notes, read through any materials, and absorb as much as possible. Paying attention to these details is part of making a good impression, even if it just seems like annoying logistics.

Listen & observe first, act second:

This is a big one. Of course you’ve been hired for your expertise and the unique perspective you bring to the table, but jumping in with changes, suggestions, demands, or criticism in the first week can rub people the wrong way (even if you mean well).

Every company operates in its own special way and has its own unwritten rules and culture. It’s so important to absorb all that before jumping in and trying to change the world. Additionally, in many cases your new co-workers were probably a big part of building things to get them to where they are currently. Trying to overhaul too quickly might not be the best way to make friends.

Your first week at a new job is all about absorbing, learning, and listening. Once you have a really solid understanding of what’s going on, who your key partners are, and where you can add value, then start moving and making an impact.

Focus on building relationships:

Last but certainly not least, the first week should be all about relationships – forming them and building them. Most companies believe in strong cross-functional partnerships and collaboration. You’re the new kid on the block, and building these relationships now will come in handy when you need to ask someone a question, for a favor, to work with you on a deliverable, etc.

The other reason  you should be focusing on this is more selfish. Strong relationships will actually make you happier at work. As much as you need to lean on people to help you be successful, you probably also want to have people at your new job that you really connect with and who will make the day go by faster.

There is plenty more you can do in your first week at a new job that will help you be successful but I really do think these 3 are the most important and will make the transition smooth and pleasant. Good luck!

Have other suggestions? Leave a comment with your own tips & experiences!

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