You might breathe a sigh of relief as you realize the résumé writing and interviewing is over, but the idea of starting a brand new job with brand new coworkers in a brand new setting can be quite daunting. You want to make sure you make a good impression at your new job so your boss keeps you around for a while! Don’t worry – all it takes to succeed at a new job is some perspective, organization, and work ethic. Here are ten tips to help you on your way:
1. Learn what your coworkers do. At your new job, it’s important to find out how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Your coworkers represent other pieces of the puzzle. Set up interviews and spend some time shadowing them. If their jobs are similar to yours, you might gain some valuable tips from them. If their jobs are different, you can learn how you fit into the grand scheme of the company. Plus, it makes an excellent impression on your coworkers when you take interest in their work.
2. Observe the office culture. As you begin your new job, take it all in. Who are the local maintenance workers? Who runs the meetings? Who brings in the cards for birthday celebrations? How does the group problem-solve? What tensions exist? There is so much to learn other than the particular tasks related to your new job. Pay attention to what goes on around you so that you can fit into the office culture.
3. Don’t try to make big changes too quickly. When you start your new job, you may immediately have a bunch of great ideas to take things to the next level. A few small changes here and there will be necessary, but before you jump into an overhaul, take the time to get to know why things are the way they are. After a while (some suggest a year on the job), begin to suggest your changes and get your coworkers’ support. When those go well, you will soon earn your coworkers’ trust to take things into your own hands.
4. Be positive. Staying positive about your ability to do well will help you succeed at your new job. Accept assignments with a smile, even if the task sounds tedious or difficult. Say hi to your coworkers when you get to work in the morning. Don’t speak negatively of your past job. Keep your complaints to yourself until you’re talking to someone completely disconnected from work. Your coworkers should feel confident that you enjoy your job so that they can trust you to do it well.
5. Keep busy. When you first start your new job, you might not immediately have a lot on your plate. You will be orienting yourself to the office and your boss may have to get into the habit of assigning you work. Don’t let yourself get bored, though. You don’t want to appear to be lazy or unneeded! Always use your time well, whether it’s to do informative reading, research about your company, or organization of old files.
6. Stay organized. Your coworkers and boss at your new job will need to rely on you to stay on track and fulfill your duties. Make sure you keep yourself organized so that you don’t drop the ball. Read this article for tips on staying organized at work.
7. Ask for frequent feedback. At a new job, it’s often difficult to gauge how you’re doing. Be sure to schedule regular meetings with your boss to get evaluated on your performance, set goals, and just generally touch base. As you complete assignments, ask your coworkers for feedback. Be humble and take criticism graciously. A willingness to learn is the only way to truly succeed at your new job. Always ask questions when you’re not sure about something!
8. Offer to get things done. After you’ve been at your new job for a while and know how much time you have available, start offering to take on assignments that match your skill set and job description. If you’ve heard your coworkers mention they wish your predecessor had done such-and-such, or they’ve always wanted someone to do this-or-that, you could be the person to get such things done. Initiative is key to excelling at your new job.
9. Find a mentor. At your new job, it’s good to have a trusted guide who can show you the ropes, give you advice, and let you talk through problems and ideas. Keep an eye out for a coworker who might be willing to take on this mentorship role. Chances are, he or she will be flattered to be your mentor and gladly help you get off to the right start.
10. Network outside the office. At your new job, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Network within the company with people in other departments, as well as with people outside the company. Networking groups such as BNI exist to bring people from different fields together into mutually beneficial relationships. You will be a reliable resource for your coworkers when you can use your “connections” to get a job done.
When it comes down to it, succeeding at a new job is about using all your talent and capabilities to be truly great at work. It’s about being humble enough to ask questions and learn, yet confident enough to excel. If you have to be there for eight hours anyway, why not make the most of it and be the best you can be?