Follow These Top Tips to Start Your New Job Off On the Right Foot
Of course you’re nervous. The first day at a new job is like the first day of school all over again. You stress over what to wear, you have no friends and you’re terrified of messing up.
To help ease the transition, we’ve rounded up some of the most common – and most detrimental – mistakes that people make during their first week at a new job.
If you can get through your first five days without doing any of these things, you’ll be running the show before you know it.
1. Not Introducing Yourself to Everyone
You may feel shy or overwhelmed by meeting so many new people, but you only get one chance to make a first impression. ‘Don’t be aloof or scared of your new work colleagues,’ says career expert Corinne Mills. ‘Go out of your way to introduce yourself and show interest in them. Warming up these relationships from the start makes it easier for you to ask them questions, and they’ll be more helpful and tolerant while you get up to speed in your new job.’
To make the task easier, Karen Meager of Monkey Puzzle Training & Consulting suggests asking your manager for a list of key people you’ll be working with and making a plan to say hello to them in person. ‘If you are shy, you can use the name of the person who suggested them as an intro, for example “X told me that you are a key person I’ll be working with…”‘ she says. ‘That makes them feel important and takes away any embarrassment you might feel.’
2. Expecting to Know It All
If you go into your new gig with the realisation that things will be unfamiliar and uncomfortable for a while, things will be a whole lot easier. ‘Be realistic in your expectations,’ says Corinne. ‘It’s going to take some time for you to get to grips with the way that things are done in your new organisation.’
Karen notes that one of the worst things you can do is pretend to know something you don’t. ‘I was coaching a woman who worked at a company that had a lot of jargon,’ she says. ‘On her first day, she acknowledged that she knew what a piece of jargon meant – but she didn’t. Five years later she is still none the wiser!’
3. Not Asking Questions
As you learn the ropes, you’re bound to have loads of questions – but it’s easy to feel like a nuisance if you’re continually badgering the person next to you. ‘Instead of constantly asking questions, collect a list of the more complex ones and arrange a regular check-in with your manager or work colleague to go through them,’ Corinne suggests. ‘This will be a more efficient use of time and less disruptive to their work.’
4. Talking About Your Old Job
You know shouldn’t dwell on past relationships with a new boyfriend – and the same rule applies here. ‘In their wish to establish credibility with their new colleagues, people often talk about their old job,’ Karen says. ‘This is dangerous because other people may find it boring or, worse still, arrogant.’ Instead, she suggests waiting to discuss your former job until people ask about it.
5. Promising Too Much
‘As a new recruit it’s natural to want to impress your new employer, but it is very easy to underestimate just how much time and energy it takes to adapt to a new role,’ Corinne says. ‘When you sit down with your manager and agree priorities and targets for your probation reviews, make sure they are realistic and well within your reach. More ambitious targets can follow once you’re settled in.’
6. Dressing Inappropriately
Unless you’re working in the fashion industry, your new boss will be more focused on your skills than your outfit. But you still want to look like you’re familiar with the company’s vibe. If you show up in a professional-looking suit and your colleagues are all wearing jeans and tees (or vice versa), you’ll look inexperienced. ‘Getting it right starts with the interview,’ Karen says. ‘What did the interviewer wear? If you had chance to look around the office, what was the general dress culture? And check it wasn’t dress down Friday. It is always worth checking if a company has a dress policy before you start.’
Courtesy of Marie Claire – Ali Gray
What You Learn At Work
From competing for a promotion to working with a difficult manager, there are skills that you’ll learn only after starting your career. Even if you think you’re well prepared for life outside the walls of your varsity, chances are that there are many other surprises that life and your career will throw at you. Regardless of where in your career you are, there is something new for everyone to learn.
How to negotiate and not be taken for granted
If you want to build a successful career and make it through life, you’re going to have to learn very soon in your career that there is power in negotiating.
Whether it’s starting a new job, asking for a salary increase or budgeting for a project, brushing up on your negotiation skills can make the difference between striking the best deal and being taken for a ride. Because school doesn’t teach you this, like most people, you’ll probably figure it out by taking a few hard knocks.
How to work with people and network
Although you may have had your fair share of group projects and encountered a number of different personalities during your school years, we bet that school didn’t prepare you for what you have to encounter in the real world.
Learning to work with people is probably one of the most important skills you’ll have to master for success. You’ll have to learn how to handle the low-key aspects of your office culture as well, and the people who are part of it, from your colleague who always has the most inappropriate things to say at the most inappropriate of times, to your manager who shoots down every idea you take to the table.
The same applies to networking. There is a great power in knowing you have a network of people you can reach out to in any situation.
How to manage your time and responsibilities
Unfortunately, in the office there isn’t an administrator to set up a timetable for you and run after you when you’ve missed a submission date. This means that you’ll have to manage your own responsibilities. You have to be accountable for your own work, projects, meetings and emails. If anything goes wrong or you miss a deadline, you’ll have to answer for the mess.
You’ll also realise that there’ll never be enough time in a day. But planning and keeping track of how you use your time, will help you to manage your time effectively.
How to handle feedback
Criticism is an inevitable part of life. But the difference between school and office criticism and feedback is that in the office, there isn’t a teacher to congratulate you when you’ve aced a test or to say you can do better when you haven’t. In fact, in business, you really are only as good as your last project.
When given criticism, the onus will be on you to listen to what you’re told, decipher what it means and decide how you’re going to apply it to better yourself.
Remember that receiving feedback of any nature from a colleague or your manager is usually a sign that they care about your personal growth and the trajectory of your career. The responsibility will be on you to remember this and use it to show your ability to learn and grow. Just as anything in life, the only way you’ll prepare yourself for the unknown is to go out and get your hands dirty.Criticism is an inevitable part of life. Click To Tweet
Learning to navigate some of these skills before starting a full time job, whether through an internship or a part time job, will also ensure you’re aware of what to expect.
Getting ahead and making an impact at your place of employment is something we all should be concentrating on.
A mediocre reference is nothing more than mediocre! Be sure that you can safely assume your boss believes you are adding value.
It’s the little things:
To gain management trust in order that your portfolio of responsibilities will increase build a name for yourself by attending to the little things. Little things that are in your control like being at work on time, meeting your deadlines, using your initiative and remaining positive.
This strong attributes will definitely be noticed by those that matter:
Either succeed or fail
The learning never stops. Whether you are working for a company that is succeeding or failing, there are opportunities for you to grow. A failing company might throw you into the deep end and you will be forced to sink and swim. A successful dynamic company might teach you things that you have never been exposed to. All great personal growth opportunities.
There is no simple way
Your career will see you heading down many paths. There is no direct path to success. At times, it may get a bit messy. Just keep your eye on the prize and stay focused. You will get there.
Supporters and Detractors
You cannot win them all. As you mould your career path know that you will have people rooting for you and others who want to trip you up. Do not let this deter you. This type of mixed reaction is totally normal.
Be great at what you do
Earn your reputation as someone who is good at what you do.
Being ruthless will earn you no friends. Share your knowledge and help out where you can. Networking and a strong support system is much needed in your climb up the ladder.
Yours in Personnel