The First Month in a New Job

By: NES Group

FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT! The first few weeks of a new job are crucial in determining how your new employer perceives you. During this time your manager, colleagues and subordinates will all be making judgements about you, so you cannot afford to give the wrong impression. The ways in which you present yourself and communicate are going to lead people to form long lasting opinions of you, so it is essential to perform to high standards, ensuring the right people notice your efforts.

Preparation

Your first day is likely to be exhausting, as anxiety will increase your stress levels. The first journey to work, introductions to new people and the effort invested to create the best impression can make you feel tired. Aim to get lots of sleep and be organised. Prepare your clothes, paperwork and travel and leave time for discrepancies.

Before you begin the job, immerse yourself in all the company literature you can find. Conduct further research: go on the corporate website and request copies of brochures and press packs. The latest newsletter, company press releases or recently published articles can also be useful. By absorbing as much information as you can about the company's culture, values and market positioning you will ensure that you are one step ahead.

Dos and Don'ts

There are some basic dos and don'ts to follow in order to ensure that you create the right first impression:

Do...

Arrive early and make the effort to show enthusiasm and motivation.
Introduce yourself to people you meet and try and remember names and faces plus their roles within the company.
Ask for a run down of the management infrastructure - this way you can understand who controls what.
Try to demonstrate your strengths/specialist skills as soon as possible.
Ask lots of questions and don't be afraid to say if you don't understand something - an employer will assist you rather than let you struggle.
Think about your appearance and ensure you look businesslike, clean and groomed.
Remember to think before you speak.
Be organised and write down reminders.

Don't...

Don't be too quiet or reserved, or conversely too loud or over-the-top.
Don't sit around doing nothing - if you finish a task, take the initiative to let the boss know and find something else useful to do.
Don't ask if you can go home early on day one or try to book holiday time - this shouldn't be seen as your priority in the first few weeks.

Induction success

Many company HR departments design an induction plan as an opportunity to learn about the culture of the business. Take this opportunity to ask questions, remaining open-minded about your new employer. This is the time to find out even more about the company and ask any questions regarding personnel issues. You may be given policies to read, health and safety information and some brief training on using office equipment. Don't worry if it all seems too much to take in at the time, take notes and re-read the information at a later date.

Work on developing a good relationship with your manager. In your first month try to understand the type of person they are, assessing their working style, priorities and communication techniques. How do they like to receive information - face to face or by email? Do they prefer to schedule meetings? Don't assume they always know what you are working on - make it a rule to check in with them regularly and let them know of any successful undertakings.

The bigger picture?

Your initial tasks and routines have probably been outlined. Clarifying exactly what is expected of you is important - if you're unsure of what your objectives and goals are you should ask your manager to make these clear. Find out how the work of your team fits into the purpose of the wider department and how the support of this department contributes to the overall activities of the business. Take a professional attitude and treat all jobs (even those you may feel menial) as important.

Did I make the right decision?

Feelings of doubt are normal during your first few months in a job. You may find yourself questioning your job or the company but insecurity at this early stage is not unusual. Towards the end of the first month it can be useful to review your new job and assess your satisfaction with the direction you are moving in. The best way to prevent potentially negative issues getting out of hand is to identify them early on and change them before they become unmanageable.

Above all else your first month in a new job should be challenging and exciting. It will bring with it challenges you may not have faced or anticipated before. With a little bit of thought and insight you can get off to a flying start with your new employer.

Careers and Job Hunting
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