7 Things You Should Do the First 7 Weeks of Your New Job was originally published on uConnect External Content.
You’ve gone through the application process, aced every interview, and finally gotten an offer for your dream job. Earning a place as a new team member is no small achievement; however, keeping that place and making a good first impression will be essential to your long-term success.
As the old adage goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. The actions that you take (and don’t take) as you start your new position can set the tone for how your new employer will perceive you. A notable research study showed that employers typically give new employees 90 days or less to prove themselves in a new role. While your new job will eventually be second nature to you, how you begin can have a significant influence on how and if you succeed. Keeping in mind the importance of your first few weeks with your new employer, there are several steps that you can take to make a good first impression.
1. Come Researched
You may feel like you can relax now that you’ve completed the interview process. In reality, you should continue to learn everything you can about your new employer. Now that you have a job offer, you will have a lot more information available to you about the company, its culture, and the expectations that they have of you.
While that lengthy folder from your new HR may not seem very interesting, learning everything you can prior to your first day is important. Even beyond your first day, doing continued research on what is expected and how team dynamics work will be essential to your success.
2. Learn Workplace Norms
Every job and team will have its own set of unspoken rules and quirks. For example, just because quitting time is 5:00PM in the job description doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone leaves right at that time. Some teams may stay longer or have a routine where one night a week they go out for dinner right after work. If you do not take the time to learn the norms of your new team, it will be harder for you to fit in initially.
While identifying norms that you should try to fit into, you may find some aspects of your team’s culture that are negative norms. In these areas, you can establish your reputation and even stand out to your manager by being aware of negative norms and avoiding them.
3. Make Early Contact with Your Manager
While it is likely that your manager will try to touch base with you as you are beginning your new position, taking the initiative to reach out and connect with him/her early in your new employment will make you stand out and show that you have a proactive attitude. Connecting with your manager early, preferably within your first week, will also help you to understand better what is expected of you in the early days of your new role.
4. Introduce Yourself to Everyone You Meet
As the “new person,” it can be difficult to fit into an established team. The best way to combat this is just not to be the “new person” by introducing yourself to anyone and everyone you meet. By introducing yourself, people will get to know you and you will be able to establish early relationships that can last throughout your entire career.
There are multiple benefits to taking the initiative and introducing yourself to as many people as possible. One is that you will help to establish yourself as a friendly person in the minds of your colleagues. Another is that more people will learn about you directly from yourself rather than through secondhand information.
5. Establish Early Relationships
Beyond introducing yourself, you should seek to establish early friendships and professional relationships. Connecting with at least a few of your colleagues on a deeper level than just an introduction will help you to get more of an inside perspective on the team you are working with and position you to better succeed.
Another important early relationship besides friendships can be finding someone who can serve as a mentor. After your first couple of weeks, you should be able to identify someone who you want to emulate as you start your new job. Asking that person for advice and taking him/her out for coffee could give you an extra advantage as you start your new position.
6. Ask Questions
During your first few weeks on the job, your goals should be to learn as much as you can about your new team and how you can add value to the company. Asking questions is a great way to learn. Do not be wary of appearing unknowledgeable in your new position. The good news is that, as the “new person,” you are not expected to know everything. Asking questions, especially during your first few weeks on the job, is acceptable and will be essential to your success.
7. Develop a Routine
The habits that you develop in your first few weeks can stick with you for years. Pay special attention to developing a routine that is efficient and effective. Be sure that your routine helps you to be effective in your new role, and that it also allows you to take the time to build your relationships with your new colleagues.
Your long-term success in your new position will not be completely tied to what happens in your first few weeks, but these first weeks will set the tone for your time with your new employer. You may be able to shake a bad first impression eventually, but taking the time to establish your reputation as a knowledgeable and competent professional from the beginning of your new position will ultimately provide you with the most benefit.