Starting a new job? Tips for entry-level employees to make the most of their first week
The academic year is almost over, and that means hundreds of thousands of high school and college students are saying goodbye to their school books and getting ready to enter the workforce. If you’re among this group of new professionals, you’ll want to make a good impression and an even better start. Here are our top tips for making the most of the first week in your new job.
- Prepare properly. Whether you suffer from first-week jitters or not, being prepared will undoubtedly make things easier. Select your outfits for the entire week so you’re not rummaging through your closet at the last minute. Make sure you have reliable transport to and from work—and know where you’re going! If you’re bringing your own device, check that it’s ready for the IT department to add to the network and set up your email.
- Dress appropriately. You probably gained an impression of the dress code during the interview process, but if you didn’t, try to find out what’s expected. You can simply contact the hiring manager and ask, but if you’re not comfortable doing this, err on the side of convention. Avoid shorts, mini-skirts, crop tops, and flip-flops, and opt instead for at the very least business casual.
- Get to work early, and don’t be the first to leave. As Hannah Morgan points out in her U.S. News Money article “5 Things to Do When Starting a New Job,” everyone will be observing you. Get to work before most of your co-workers, and at the end of the day, ask your supervisor if he or she has anything else for you before you head home.
- Write down your colleagues’ names and functions. You’ll probably be meeting a lot of new people—and if you manage to remember everyone’s name and job function, you’ll definitely score points. When you have a quiet moment, make a note of the people you’ve met and what they do. Then refer to that list as needed.
- Ask for a list of your responsibilities. Though the job listing probably mentioned the most important of your duties, it’s a good idea to ask your supervisor to give you a detailed list of what you’re expected to do and when. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or assistance if something’s entirely new to you.
- Ask for a tour of the premises. You need to know the layout of your workplace, so if your supervisor doesn’t volunteer a tour, ask for one. Make sure you know where the most important departments—HR, IT—are.
- Be social. Even if you have responsibilities at home, it’s wise to think ahead and keep your early evenings and Friday night free. The reason is that your co-workers will likely want to socialize with you, so take every opportunity you get to establish rapport. Join others for lunch, a quick post-work coffee, or “TGIF” drinks.
- Avoid gossip. Being social doesn’t mean you have to engage in gossip. In fact, you should avoid it as much as possible.
- Take time for yourself. You’ll have a lot to digest in your first week, so make sure to reserve some “you time,” whether that’s a long walk with your dog, yoga, or simply reading a book.
Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll greatly enhance your chances of rocking your first week in your new job! Soon you’ll see—each of your successes holds the door open for the next.
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