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The Right Way to Start a New Job

There’s so much to think about when you’re starting a new job.  Not only is it stimulating but it can be downright nerve-wracking, no matter how confident you are.  Remember, a new job is a blank slate for you to write your own story.  We hope you find your new position rewarding and please read our 7 steps on how to make the process easier.

A smooth start and making a great first impression would top many people’s list of goals during the first few weeks in a new position.   During these COVID times and with so many of us working remotely, there are new challenges as well.  You will still have to navigate your way through the job orientation process  and get to know your colleagues, even if it’s just virtual for now.  The good news is, a lot of it is in your control.   

Our 7 Top Tips:

  1. Show up with a Positive Attitude
  2. Practice Your Introductions
  3. Speak Well of your Former Job
  4. Listen and Learn
  5. Find a Friend
  6. Don’t ask for Upgrades
  7. Pitch In

A Positive Attitude

Being positive is one of the best ways to make a lasting first impression. Everyone who comes in contact with you on your first few days on the new job will remember that. 

Practice Your Introductions

This is very easy and important to do but often gets overlooked.  You are likely to be nervous enough on your first day without having to ad lib your way through crucial meetings, so when it comes to those early intros to all of your new co-workers, you probably want to have a plan. 

Beyond the initial introduction of your name, think about what it is you want to share with your new colleagues. You might give some thought as to what the first little story you want to tell about yourself is.  It will not only help your new co-workers get to know you but also help you direct those initial conversations to areas where you feel most comfortable.  

By the time you start your first day at the new job, you should have some idea of the company culture and be able to gauge whether you should keep it strictly about your professional background or mix in some fun, more informal information.  If it’s a very formal environment, you might want to stick with brief facts about your past experience, what you’ll be doing at the new company and what projects you’re excited to work on.

In a more casual environment, you can probably have a bit more fun and add in something about your  interests or passions.

Speak Well of Your Former Job

Bad-mouthing your former employer is never a good idea and, while it may be tempting to relate a story about your control freak ex-manager or co-worker who loved to steal your ideas, you’ll only come off looking bad if you go this route. Word gets around and the workplace is a surprisingly small world.

Listen and Learn

There is a lot to take in during the orientation process at any new job. One of the most crucial things you can do at a new job is to be open to new ways of doing things. Make sure you are paying close attention during the onboarding process and don’t tune out something you think you already know or have heard before. It’s an advantage to be able to draw on your previous experience and knowledge but avoid using phrases like “In my last job….”. Asking well-thought out questions and being receptive to the answers will make you stand out.

Find a Friend

They don’t have to become your bestie, but an office friend – someone you feel comfortable with and you can share your thoughts with – makes the transition into a new job that much smoother.  Don’t force a friendship; it might not happen in the first few weeks.   That’s alright, just give it time and take the initiative by inviting someone out to coffee.

Don’t Ask for Upgrades

It’s been a challenge for employers to quickly get up to speed with providing their employees with the tools they need to work properly from home.  So whether you are in a company office or working remotely and the software and related computer set-up they’ve provided you with is not quite to your liking, don’t complain about it.  At some point the time might be appropriate to discuss ordering that new office chair or upgrading your software, but the first few weeks on the job are not it.  After you’ve proven that you are a stellar employee, that’s the time to inquire about upgrades!

Pitch In

This might look different right now compared to the usual advice of assisting your colleagues in the workplace, helping make the coffee or whatever.  You might want to think about ways in which you could demonstrate that you’re a team player remotely – offer to facilitate some component of your weekly team virtual meetings for example.  You’ll have to feel your way through this one to avoid inadvertently stepping on someone else’s toes.  Sincerity goes a long way here and it’s best not to make a big deal out of it if your offer of help gets rebuffed.  Just try again next time!

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