According to jobsite.co.uk 20 per cent of people think the first day in a new job is the scariest and put it top of the list over some of life’s daunting challenges. It’s natural to be scared of the unknown and once you are aware of what happens, who you are dealing with, and how day-to-day ticks you will naturally relax.
So I have put together a few tips that will help motivate you into getting the most out of your first few months within your new role:
- Make sure you do your homework – Research the company before you even get to the first interview. Once you are offered research again, you’ll be surprised how much information there is on the internet – you’ll be able to find out key things about the business, the Directors and senior managers and even the teams. Soak up organisational charts and remember those names and faces that are important. The more prepped you are before you actually get there the quicker you can settle in and know who are the important people to introduce yourself to. Think special agent and learn everything you can.
- It’s good to talk! – As the BT advert always told us … it’s great to talk and from the moment you get your offer you are ready to be employed. There is no reason why you cannot talk to your new employer from the time you accept your offer through to the day you start, suggest looking at handbooks, procedures or projects before you start so that you have an idea of the types of things you will be working on. The more people you get to know the easier it will be for you to mould into the business. Use online pages to see you or your contacts know and get in touch. Be careful not to over step the mark or look too keen but there’s no harm in getting in the picture.
- Learn and settle into your new environment – Listen, watch, learn and ask intelligent questions. Seek out those employees that are seen as champions in the business and those that are doing a good job. Unless you are someone who has joined the business to be completely business a maverick in your role, learn from these guys and adopt behaviours which are valued by the business.
- Get to know the people that matter – Your mission should you accept it is to get to know all those people in the business that matter. Now that can be anyone from the Post Person to the MD those that can really help you get on in your role and those that will make the final decision throughout your probationary period as to whether you are the right person for the business. Keep an open mind, don’t make any enemies and ensure you are careful with who you disclose information to. Some people in business are simply there to find and use information for their own benefits so keep an open mind. Positive thinking and focussed, business orientated contacts are great. This is fresh start to let them get to know you slowly and become the professional that you really want to be.
- Understand the rules of the game – You should have been given a staff handbook, policies, procedures and rules on how things work in the business. Although these are not the most exciting of documents to read they will give you an overview of what’s accepted in the business. The more you read, soak up and learn more quickly you will be able to conform to the rules and show your talents without getting into trouble!
- Take care with your new ideas – I am sure as a new employee you have 101 new ideas in how to do things or have suggestions on how to tweak things for the better. These are all fantastic traits and will be well received, but beware to launching them too early to the business or anyone in the team. Get to know the teams and the business first so that you can ensure you are not treading on the toes of your colleagues. Save your ideas until you have settled and worked out who is who in the business. Once you have the respect from the teams and they know that you are not necessarily a threat to their projects or roles then you can launch your ideas and they should be well received.
- Kick start your networking – Get to know as many people as you can. Your induction and orientation into the business will introduce you to the teams and key contacts that you will work with, but you should really get to know as many people in the business as possible, especially if you are in a managerial role. Get to know other departments, other teams and make contacts across the business. Show interest in other peoples jobs and problems.
- Solve people problems and find the quick wins – You are new, your ideas are new and you don’t want to tread on any toes, so make sure you look out for the areas where you can really help and get yourself a few quick wins along the way. These will help you bond with the teams and you can make a difference early on in your career. Don’t try and bulldoze in and make changes (unless that’s what you’ve been hired for of course!) Find out the problems people are having and see if you can solve them or at least assist in helping.
- Surfs up! – By identifying an area in the business you can really make a difference in early you can catch the wave and show those in the know that your skills can really be useful in the business or on a particular project. Remember not to tread on toes, but utilise your contacts and really show them what you can do!
- Plan your progression – Keep in mind your career progression, where would you like to be in 3 to 5 years’ time and keep this in mind as you work through your day to day role. Keep one eye on how you will get there and use you appraisal and time with management to really speak your mind about the things you would like to do and the direction you would like to take (as long as those things are within the business’ remit). You are the only person that can get you to where you really want to be in the future. Your destiny is in your hands so get planning!
If you fail at your first try it’s not a bad thing, dig in and commit to your goals and try again…and remember – in the great words of Seth Godin “ A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something at the same time the outcome doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal. A mistake is either a failure repeated, doing something for the second time when you should have known better, or a misguided attempt (because of carelessness or selfishness) that hindsight reminds you is worth avoiding. We need a lot more failures, I think. Failures that don’t kill us make us bolder, and teach us one more way that won’t work, while opening the door to things that might. School and training confuses us, so do bosses and families. Go ahead, fail. Try to avoid mistakes, though.