Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression!!

So you’re starting a new job, and things are very exciting and maybe a little bit scary. As you spend a third of your week or more at work, making sure that your new job is one you are going to enjoy is essential. Getting off to a good start is half the battle in ensuring that you fit in to your new role and into your new work environment.

You obviously want to make sure this role a success for you and for the development of your career. It is important to remember the impact you make in the first days and weeks in a new job can have a lasting effect – remember you only get one chance to make a first impression.

These are a few tips to ensure your new job starts well.

  1. If it’s possible, take some time off between jobs — maybe a week or two. You’ll need this time to separate from your previous workplace and recharge your batteries. Leaving co-workers and a culture behind can be very difficult. The number of hours spent at work far exceeds the number of hours spent anywhere else so it is important to take a break before starting your new role with a clear head.
  1. It sounds almost too obvious, but plan the route you’ll take to work as well as some alternate routes. Should there be traffic, or if a train line is out of service, you’ll be glad you did this, the last thing you want to do on your first day is be late!
  1. Make sure that you know what is expected of you in your new role. It is important that you know your responsibilities, duties and the specific targets set out for you. If you need clarification don’t hesitate to ask your employer. A clear job description is essential in this regard and if you have not got one before you start ensure that you sit down with your manager to at least get an outline of your tasks and duties. Research has shown that the reason people leave jobs within 6 months is often due to lack of clarity in their roles and no training or support.

Don’t worry if this is your first job, working to deadlines may be new to you – so don’t panic. If deadlines are set up for you, try to always meet them – you don’t want to fall at the first hurdle. Your other team members are there to help you out.

Planning is key – ensure you plan your tasks or objectives on a daily/weekly basis, use your diary – write them down and stick to them.

Some key areas to remember are….

  • Try to get a good sense of the organisational structure.
  • Find out ‘who is who’ within the organisation – formally and informally.
  • Get to know the ‘lines of communication’ within the organisation – who should you go to if you have a problem.
  • What are the company policies and procedures – What sort of rules operate. Get a copy of the employee handbook if one is available.
  • Have a good handle on the priorities of your new job – and ensure you plan around the proportion of the time you should be giving to each of these priorities.
  • Understand the resources you will have in order to complete your role effectively.
  • Be clear on the expectations of your superiors and colleagues.

During the first days of settling into your new role consider these simple points….

Do start by:

  • Listening a great deal to those around you – you will pick up a lot about the culture of the company and it will help you to get to know your new colleagues.
  • Being modest in your dealings with your new colleagues – ask them questions and answer theirs, you may be working with these people for a long time so get off on the right foot by being interested in what they have to say. If you are bad with names repeat each person’s name as they are said to you, this will help you remember them. Don’t isolate yourself. Even though it can be overwhelming, integrate as much as you can and try to accept invitations to lunch or for coffee.
  • Always exercise tact and diplomacy when dealing with issues that you have taken on from your predecessor.
  • Get stuck in – use your training period to ask as many questions as you can so that when the time comes you can get off to a good start on your own. The more confident you are with your new tasks the more at home you will feel in your new role.
  • Not panicking; everything seems daunting when it is new; and a new job, new surroundings and new people is a lot to deal with so give yourself time, everybody needs a little settling in period in a new position. In time it will all be second nature, you won’t have to ask people questions anymore and you will be confident in your role and in your relationships with your new colleagues, but these things don’t happen overnight.

Don’t start a new job by:

  • Constantly referring to the way you used to do it in your last job.
  • Criticising your new, or former, employers or colleagues.
  • Encouraging stories or gossip about your predecessor.
  • Reminising about your last job or the characters you worked with.
  • Talking about the increase in salary you got to move to your current role.

Moving to a new role is going to bring its own unique challenges and it is important that you prepare yourself for these challenges, and more importantly, for the opportunities that lie ahead!

Niall Murray

Managing Director

Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services