The first week on a new job can be overwhelming with paperwork, training and getting up to speed. However, it is the first week that sets the tone for future success at the company.
That is why it is so important to leverage the first week as the chance to lay the groundwork for your career.
You’ll want to introduce yourself to everyone during this critical time. Spend as much bonding time with your team as possible. Work with your manager to set expectations and build a plan for your first 90 days on the job. Use your first week to get involved and help the team with current projects or tasks. Let them see you as a team player who is eager to work to help. If you are starting a new job, keep reading to learn why what you do, or don’t do the first week can have a significant impact on your success.
One of the primary keys to success on any job is a solid network. A network of peers and management that can help you advance your career. However, your first week may be so busy with paperwork, training and getting up to speed. So much so that you may not have time to meet everyone outside of your direct team formally. Don’t wait until you get settled in to start meeting everyone. Use every encounter with someone as a chance to introduce yourself. Whether it is the elevator, break room or walking down the hall, those quick interactions are a great way to connect with everyone and start building your network.
Have a quick elevator pitch ready when you meet someone. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a bit about your previous roles and experience and what your new position is at the company. Be sure to ask them about their role. Learning everyone’s role helps you gain an understanding of the structure of the company. Not only that, you may need to collaborate with them at some point in the future. Learning the names of key players early on gives you people to go to in the event you have questions or need assistance on one of your projects. Be sure to keep notes of everyone you meet. Either a notebook or an app on your smartphone is a great way to keep up with it all.
The first week on any job sets the tone for how you are perceived as an employee. It is also during that first week that you have the greatest opportunity to learn what is expected of you. Don’t assume you know what your manager wants. Even if your manager hands you a project the first week and sets you free, make sure you are clear about expectations. What does your manager define as success? Not only on that project but for your role in general.
Work with your manager to come up with a set of goals for your first 90 days and a plan for how you will accomplish those goals. Setting expectations can ensure you and your manager on the same page about your work. Also, setting expectations can help avoid any confusion on your role and expected outcome over the course of the next few weeks. If you are manager starting with a new team, use the first week to establish a relationship with your new team. Meet with them as a group and individually to discuss your expectations, communication style and management style.
You can be sure that there is always plenty of work to go around if the company hired you. With that said don’t be shy about jumping right in. If you have some downtime between meetings and paperwork, keep yourself busy by pitching in. Even if you don’t know the ropes, ask if there are minor or support related tasks where you can help. Ask if any of your teammates need help with something. Speaking up and getting involved early shows that you are a team player.
Another benefit to getting involved immediately is that it gives you a head start on training. If there truly isn’t anything for you to work on right away, ask if you can job shadow someone. Perhaps you can sit with someone in a role like yours to help you get started on learning the ropes. Don’t overdo it though, as you don’t want to come off as pushy. Be respectful about anything you are asked to help with and don’t try to change things overnight. Now is not the right time to point out how you did something at your last job. This is a new company with new rules and expectations. Your job at this point is to simply help and learn.
Week one is when you are most likely to have everyone’s time and attention’ to learn the ropes. It is during week one that everyone will be eager to share with you and get you up to speed on things. Take week one as an opportunity to learn everything you can. Learn as much as you can about your new role. What does it entail? Who will you work with? What tools do you need to be successful? Ask lots of questions, both of your manager and your teammates. Identify the veteran team members, the ones who have been with the company the longest. Gain as much knowledge as you can from them. They probably have inside information on how to accomplish things or have vital information to help you be successful.
Don’t forget that learning corporate culture is just as important as learning the details of your new job. Who are the key players on the team? Who seems to have the most influence and why? What is your manager’s leadership style and how do they prefer to communicate? How long of a lunch break are you allowed? Where’s the coffee? These may seem minor, but a mishap on any of these items could cast a negative tone over your career with the company.
As mentioned previously, week one is when you are likely to get the most attention from your team. Don’t shy away from it. If they offer to take you to lunch, go. Even if you brought lunch for the day, save it for the next day and make it a point to have lunch with the team. If the team has a tradition of taking a quick work break throughout the day together, make sure you go as well. These gatherings are a great bonding time. They are opportunities for you to get to know them, and for them to get to know you. Therefore, it is crucial that you take them seriously. Skipping out on these opportunities could make you seem uninterested even if that is not the case. If you happen to be an introvert, figure out a way to push past your comfort zone the first week.
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