Guide to Successfully Starting a New Job
Guide to Successfully Starting a New Job
The content in this guide is provided for general information only, and is not intended to address specific circumstances of any particular individuals. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.
Deciding to search for a new job is a big step for many employees, let alone actually starting one. Those first-day jitters may last well into your first few months at your new workplace. Most working adults have held several positions throughout the duration of their professional lives. From after-school jobs in high school to entry-level positions in your field of interest, chances are you have been the “new guy” at one point or another.
Starting a new job doesn’t have to be overwhelming; after all, it is an exciting step toward the next phase of your life and toward your ultimate career goal. With a few helpful tips about how to navigate your new workplace, you can be on your way to building the career of your dreams. Continue reading the topics presented in this guide to learn how to successfully start a new job.
Making a Good First Impression
Most people hate to admit it, but a first impression can make or break your career. Starting a new job is nerve-racking; you’re in an unfamiliar environment with new faces and strange policies. On top of learning the ropes of your new position, you must also be aware of how you’re representing yourself. Your bosses, supervisors and colleagues will be anxiously awaiting your introduction and, as terrible as it sounds, some may even be rooting for your first mess-up.
Don’t let yourself get off on the wrong foot. We’ll guide you through your first week on the job and point out some important things you should do to make a good first impression.
Arrive Early for Your First Day
Punctuality is an admirable trait. Arriving early for your first day on the job shows your new boss, manager or supervisor that you’re eager to begin learning the ropes. There will likely be a lot of first-day activities, including a tour of your new workplace and informal introductions with your colleagues. Give yourself enough time to get situated and begin the day by arriving 20 to 30 minutes before the scheduled start of your shift.
Likewise, don’t be afraid to stay an extra couple of minutes after your day is done to ask any follow-up questions or complete any additional paperwork. This dedication to your new position will not go unnoticed.
Don’t Be a Know-It-All
It can be tempting to walk into your new job and begin showing off your exceptional knowledge and skills. After all, you want to be sure that everyone knows that you’re qualified for the position, right? Wrong. Being a know-it-all is a huge turnoff for most people, and may be mistaken for insecurity. Instead of respecting your qualifications, your coworkers and supervisors may grow to resent them.
It may be difficult, but on your first day, try to let others take the reins. Some individuals may be eager to explain to you the daily operations of your new workplace. Rather than informing them of the way you do things, be patient and let them finish. They are simply trying to help you adjust, and by absorbing the information they give you, you will come across as personable and approachable.
Introduce Yourself to Everyone – and We Mean Everyone
No matter the size of your new workplace, take the time to introduce yourself to everyone. Make it a habit to learn names and respective titles, even though this may take you a few days or even weeks. Don’t leave anyone out – not even the building cleaners or groundskeepers.
Introducing yourself to everyone you come across is a great way to secure a positive first impression among the employees. Your smiling face will stick with them and may even lead to new friendships. Ignoring your new coworkers comes off as ignorant and unprofessional, so be sure to reach out to everyone you see.
Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your first day will be a whirlwind of information, meetings and tours. In some larger workplaces, it could take up to a month to memorize how to get from point A to point B. On top of learning the map of your new workplace, you will be learning all the daily tasks you’re expected to complete. Don’t stress out trying to memorize everything on your own; your colleagues are there to help.
What’s more, reaching out to colleagues for help provides a seamless way to start building connections. Plus, asking for help indicates that you are eager to do things correctly and fit in with the company’s work culture. Your employer wants you to experience a smooth transition just as much as you do, so don’t hesitate to ask questions when they arise.
Respect Your Coworkers’ Space
This may be a bit of a no-brainer, but when you arrive at your new place of work, be sure to respect the space of your new colleagues. Whether you work in an office setting, out in the field or have a varying work environment, remember that your colleagues have an established routine that works for them. You may not be used to some of the daily operations that are occurring at your new place of work, but who are you to disrupt the flow?
Come to your new job with an open mind and a respect for existing boundaries. If you share an office cubicle, desk, dormitory or common space with one or more employees, make sure that you understand which area is yours to touch, move and decorate. Respect their space and they’ll likely respect yours.
Conquering New Employee Training Sessions
In many occupational industries, new employees are required to undergo some kind of training session or probationary period. This initial training is intended to introduce the new employee to the daily operations of the workplace and to familiarize them with routine procedures.
The type of training that a new employee attends varies with the industry in which they work. For example, labor-intensive careers like police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel must typically work through a probationary period of one or more months during which they cannot have any slip-ups or mishaps.
New employees who work in technical or mechanical positions usually work under the supervision of an experienced employee for several months. Other careers, like office jobs and retail positions, require new hires to attend mandatory training seminars and complete computer-based modules. Rather than groaning at the thought of these training sessions, be prepared to conquer them with a few insider tips and tricks.
The first step in conquering a mandatory training session is shifting your mentality. It’s natural for new employees to roll their eyes, hang their heads and zone out during these sessions. However, the training you will receive at your new job is important for your productivity as well as your safety. Some positions require employees to perform dangerous tasks. These tasks are explained thoroughly during initial training periods.
For example, before employees can legally operate dangerous machinery like forklifts and trash compactors, they must attend training. Spacing out during training sessions can lead to dangerous and potentially deadly consequences. Go into your first training session with a positive attitude. You’ll feel motivated to pay attention and be an active participant.
Listen and Learn
There are often two different parts of a training session. The first part is listening, which commonly consists of sitting and listening to a pre-recorded video or an instructor discussing workplace procedures. The second part involves learning, which most new employees take for granted.
Listening to the information is only half of a successful training session. You must play an active role in your learning if you want the information to stick in your mind. This involves asking questions, answering prompts given by the instructor and volunteering in demonstrations. Not only will this benefit your workplace knowledge, but it looks good to your supervisors and bosses.
When the training period lasts for several weeks or months, it can be tough to stay motivated. One way by which you can remain driven throughout the duration of your training is to ask your superiors to increase the level of difficulty. This tactic may be ideal for those employed in labor-intensive, technical, mechanical or medical positions. For example, after several weeks of focusing on a specific task, ask your instructor or supervisor to heighten the difficulty.
After you master the task, try it again in a more difficult scenario. This makes training more interesting and only helps you become a better and more valuable employee.
Make It Fun
There are other ways to make the training period more exciting for you and other new hires. Turn a task into a competition by promising a reward to the employee that completes it the fastest or does it the correct way. For example, certain jobs may require new employees to become CPR certified. The procedure for CPR can be tricky to remember at first. Make it into a game to help you memorize the steps, and even reward the winner with some sort of prize. New employee training is mandatory, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Make the most of your own training session by trying out some of these helpful suggestions.
Mastering the Transition From Your Old Job to Your New Job
Whether you’re completely switching gears by shifting from one trade to another or simply moving on to a better position in your field, it can be tricky transitioning between jobs. First, you must determine the appropriate time to leave your current job and accept a new position. Then comes the questions about procedure changes, scheduling and daily operations.
All of this can cause a big headache if you don’t know what you’re doing. Fortunately, there are several ways to make the transition between jobs smooth and error-free. Continue reading for some helpful tips on how to have a successful change of careers without sacrificing your sanity.
Be Open With Your Employer
Even if it is not required as part of your employee contract, it is common courtesy to inform your current employer about your plans to leave your position well in advance. 30 days’ notice is standard, while the minimum notice of leave is usually two weeks.
This allows your superiors plenty of time to begin looking for a replacement to fill your position and prepare for your departure. Their reactions may not be positive, especially if you’ve been with the company for several years and your role is significant to the daily operations.
However, leaving is entirely your choice and your right. Discuss your plans with your immediate boss as well as the human resources department. Offer to help redefine the job description or suggest content for a job opening advertisement.
Your employer will be appreciative of your concern for the company, which will help you stay on good terms down the road. Don’t wait until the very last minute to inform your bosses of your exit. You’ll leave them scrambling to fill your position and eager to spread the word about your unprofessional behavior.
Leave on Good Terms
It is essential that you leave your current job in good standing and on good terms with your employers, bosses and colleagues. Whether you worked there for a few months or several years, you were an integral part of the team.
The time you spent working there shouldn’t go to waste; if you ever plan to use that experience on a resume, be sure to exit cordially. You never know when you need to call on your previous employer for references or acknowledgements.
A gracious departure from work can make all the difference in your career moves in the future. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch with your previous colleagues and supervisors. These contacts may come in handy at your next place of employment.
The key to eliminating stress during your transition is to create a plan and stick to it. After you announce your plans to leave your current position, you may become inundated with requests to meet with friends and colleagues.
After all, switching careers can be life-changing. Clear your schedule for weeks in advance to make room for these social events. Prepare to answer a lot of questions in person and online, especially if you make your announcement via social media.
Above all, stick to your timeline. If your plan was to completely transition within 30 days, don’t agree to stay for an extra week. This will only cause more stress and make a negative impression on your new employer.
Enter With an Open Mind
Your new place of work will undoubtedly differ from your previous workplace, even if you’re staying within the same occupational field. When you arrive for your first day, try to have an open mind. The policies and procedures at your new place of employment may be different from what you’re used to. Try to go with the flow.
Of course, if you have a suggestion about how to improve something, don’t be afraid to speak up! Try to give yourself a few weeks of adjusting to your new workplace before you completely reorganize the daily operations.
Eliminating the First-Day Jitters
As an adult, you’ve experienced a lot of “firsts” in your lifetime, like your first day of school or your first time away from home. The first day at your new job can be nerve-racking, even in adulthood. It can be especially unnerving if you don’t know anyone in your new work environment. It’s normal to have the first-day jitters, but they shouldn’t affect your ability to work.
Luckily, there are ways you can combat these jitters and walk into your new job feeling confident and ready to excel. Here are some helpful pointers you can use to eliminate the nervousness that accompanies every employee’s first day on the job.
Remember: Everyone Has Been in Your Shoes
You aren’t the first new employee, and you certainly won’t be the last. All your new colleagues were once in your same position. You may come across an intimidating personality, but just remember that he or she was new once, too.
Not everyone is as nice to new employees as they should be. You might feel isolated as the “new guy,” but you’ll feel a lot better when you remind yourself that everyone was new at some point. And besides, you won’t be new forever.
Within a matter of months (or perhaps even weeks), you’ll meet the newest employee and be the one to offer him or her some helpful advice.
You Won’t Know Everything – and That’s Okay
Don’t expect to walk into work on your first day and know everything. Your employers expect you to have the skillset listed on your resume and not much more. In fact, most employers require new employees to undergo mandatory training to learn all the ins and outs of the position. With that in mind, just relax and absorb as much information as you can.
You will likely be inundated with information in your first week. Your bosses and colleagues may have high expectations for you, but they also assume you will ask questions. The only way to become an expert is to first be a novice. Ask questions, ask for help and observe your coworkers on a daily basis.
Your first day of work will consist of an information overload. Instead of trying to memorize everything your boss says to you, write it all down. The best way to learn something quickly is to take notes and review them at the end of the day.
If you attended college, you know this all too well. It may seem silly, but you should carry around a notebook during your first week and jot down any information about the layout of the workplace, your schedule, meeting times, office locations and any important daily tasks.
When your shift is over, review your notes. It’s better to have a personalized outline with you for the rest of the week than to keep repeating the same questions to your colleagues. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with asking questions; just be sure that you’re taking initiative to try to learn on your own.
Remind Yourself Why You’re There
When your nerves get the best of you, take a step back. Remind yourself why you’re there in the first place. Employees transition to a new job for various reasons; find your reason and use it to motivate you on your first day. Whether this new position will help you propel yourself up the corporate ladder or is your life’s goal, close your eyes and let it permeate your brain.
The first few weeks of your job will be hectic, but if you can remember why you’re there, you will stay motivated. Leaving a position that you loved is hard, but there is a reason for your departure. Find it, say it out loud and use it to succeed in your new career venture.
Tips for Making Your New Job Feel Like Home
Becoming comfortable at work takes time. Socializing with your colleagues and creating your own routine are important parts of your career experience. As you transition from one job to the next, you may feel a bit lost or out of your comfort zone. Feelings of discomfort can negatively affect your productivity and your ability to succeed in your new environment.
It is crucial that you take steps toward making your new position feel familiar to you. It may not happen overnight, but you can start feeling like you belong in your new workplace after taking initiative on your first day of work. Keep reading to discover some useful tips on how to feel more at home in your new job.
Socialize With Your Coworkers
Accepting a new job usually means leaving familiar faces behind and meeting new colleagues. At any stage of life, getting to know people can be scary. You may feel a bit isolated as the new employee, but you should make an effort to get to know the people around you.
Most are willing to help and want you to have a smooth transition. It can be difficult trying to get to know someone during the workday, especially if you’re employed in a busy or hectic occupation.
During the first few weeks of your new job, try to get together with some colleagues after work for dinner or drinks. Socializing with your coworkers will help you feel more at ease during the workday and offer you some comfort on particularly difficult days.
Cultivating a friendship outside of work is great for your self-esteem, which has a positive influence on your productivity at work. Be careful not to form cliques, as they often have negative impacts on the environment in the workplace.
Make Your Space Your Own
Depending on the type of job you have, you may be able to have your own space. This space may take the shape of a cubicle, office, desk or dormitory. Make it your own! Bring items from home or from your previous job to help ease into your new position.
Items like framed pictures of your family, books, calendars, wall art, posters, magnets, lamps, coffee mugs and other desktop decorations can help you transform a boring space into one that reflects your interests. Be sure to get clearance with your supervisors before bringing in any décor.
As you become more familiar with your workplace and colleagues, take some time to observe the environment. Watch how others interact and perform their daily tasks. The culture at your new place of employment may be extremely different from anything you’ve ever experienced. It’s natural to want to fit in with the rest of your coworkers. If something seems odd, don’t be afraid to ask why certain tasks are performed in the manner that they are.
Discuss Your Goals With Your Boss
In order to gauge your success, you should come up with a list of goals for the first few months. Share these goals with your manager, supervisor or boss. He or she will be more than happy to monitor your progress and give you updates as time goes on.
These progress reports will help you get a better understanding of your success and whether you are happy with your current position. It can be difficult to determine whether you’re succeeding in your position if you don’t have an idea of where you should be. Sit down with your boss and discuss your career goals, making sure to stick them to a timeline.
Don’t Compare Jobs
It may be tempting to compare your past and current job, but doing so will only have a negative impact on your happiness and success. Even if your new job is similar to your previous one, remember that they are run by two completely different employers.
The procedures and methods of completing tasks can be wildly different. Your boss will grow tired of your suggestions if they stem from your previous job and is much more likely to appreciate your willingness to adapt.