How to Shine in Your First Week On the Job

November 01, 2017 |


You got the offer.
You did the happy dance.
You chose the outfit for the first day.

Now it’s here. Your first week on the new job.

You want to make a good impression. You want to be respected, to contribute, and to connect with your colleagues. And the truth is, first impressions really are everything. So how do you knock it out of the park? Here are a few tips to nail your first week on the job.

Pace yourself. The first week at a new job is going to be tiring. You will have to be “on” as you attend training sessions, meetings, remember names and faces, and navigate a brand new work culture. This is not the time to also take up a new hobby or plan evening social events. Keep it simple this week. Focus on your new job and rest when you get off work. You need to conserve your energy.

Take it all in. You do not need to be prepared to flesh out a brand new strategy on day three. You don’t need to attend to office drama or make recommendations to prepare a broken system. This is the week to be a sponge. Absorb everything. Save the recommendations and ideas for later. And if you are asked for ideas this week, you can reserve the right to say, “I’m still taking it all in. Do you mind if I take the next few days to absorb information and then offer thoughts later?”

Set communication expectations. If you don’t want to check email after hours, don’t start this week. This week set the cadence of communication. Setting those boundaries can have a great payoff for both your company and you in the long run. According to a study by Lehigh University, those who feel expected to check and answer email during “off” hours are more likely to experience burnout.  

Take initiative. Ask questions when you need clarity. Schedule one-on-one meetings with those you will have a working relationship with. Spend time with the organizational chart and memorize the names and titles of the 20 people you work most closely with. These are some things that you can do without waiting for instructions.

Build a communication flow. If there is not a formal weekly reporting process already established, start by tracking the projects you have completed and send your supervisor a weekly recap email. Initiate contact with your supervisor as you close out the week and be sure to reach out at the start of week two and let him or her know your goals for the week.  

Be engaged. You will be doing a lot of active listening this week. But don’t let your mind wander in meetings. And don’t bring anything to a meeting that might distract you. Leave your smart phone at your desk. Write on paper instead of a laptop. And try your best to pipe up at least once in each meeting you attend.

Learn the preferences of your supervisor. You likely accepted the job because you felt like you and your new boss would work well together. But now is not too soon to learn more. Preferences around scheduling, reporting, communication style are all extremely helpful. Your job is, in great part, to make your boss’ job easier. And the more you know about your supervisor’s preferences, the sooner you can meet and exceed expectations.

There is a lot to take in during your first week at a new job. But there’s also a plethora of opportunities to start strong, setting yourself up for success and indicating to your colleagues that you were, indeed, an excellent hire.

Have you hired someone who impressed you right out of the gate? Share an inspiring story or your own advice to new employees in the comments.

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