Career Management

The euphoria of the job offer has passed, you’ve packed up and left your old employer and now you’re staring down the barrel of the first week in your new role – where do you even start?

The first week in a new job can be key for all sorts of reasons, from the impression that you make on colleagues and management, to how quickly you can hit the ground running and start making progress in the role.

A successful first week might seem like an impossible prospect in the days before you start but there are some easy steps you can take to make sure that you have a great shot of finishing off the week with a smile on your face:

Be prepared:

It’s not difficult to guess that preparation is going to have a big part to play in making a success of that first crucial week.

Start by giving yourself a break in between ending one job and starting another – you want to step over the threshold of your new employer with enthusiasm and a spring in your step, rather than being exhausted and over tired. Schedule in some down time, whether it’s a holiday or just pottering around at home. Spend some time thinking about the role you’re about to commence, what the first week might involve and what kind of information you should go armed with.

Do you have a good idea of the culture of the new company or do you need to research that too? Plan the practicalities of the first day – what documents do you need to take with you, what training or induction will you need to attend and who are you likely to meet?

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Arrive on time:

It’s a huge faux pas to be late on your first day in a new job so take every possible step to ensure that you’re not – even if it means you arrive a little early.

Plan the route that you’re going to take to the new office, particularly if it’s vastly different from your previous workplace, and factor in extra time for any potential delays or disasters. If the new office has several locations check where you will be based – you’re not going to make a great impression if you turn up at the wrong office.

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Be calm:

Remember that everyone has been the newbie at some point so you’re just going through the same process as everyone else in the organisation.

Accept that you’ll probably feel out of place at first, like you don’t know anyone (because you don’t!) and like you have no idea where to being. Avoid putting pressure on yourself to fit in right from the start and just take everything very slowly.

The calmer you are, the more likely you will come across as a friendly, open person people want to introduce themselves to.

Remain positive at all times:

Yes, you’re going to say silly things and make mistakes in your first week and it could well take you an hour to do something as simple as find the photocopier and make a single copy – this is par for the course when you start a new job.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t turn down offers of help out of a sense of pride – all these steps will gradually get you onto the road that you need to move along to get to a more comfortable place. If you make a mistake then just smile, note the best way to avoid it in future and get on with the day.

Dress to impress:

The way you dress will play a big part in the impression you create on a new boss and new colleagues and could well impact on the way you’re treated, both during the first week and on an ongoing basis.

Choose professional over casual every time, even if your first day happens to fall on a dress down Friday or something similar. It’s better to be the one person in a suit when everyone else is in jeans than the other way around.

Remember to pay attention to the details too – shine shoes, wash hair, cut nails and clean jewellery. The impression you want to create is of someone who is comfortable in the office and ready to go out and meet clients too.

Take lots of notes:

Unless you have the most amazing memory, the sheer volume of information you’ll have to deal with during your first week could seem completely overwhelming. So, take notes of everything, from where the post room is located, to what your colleagues’ names are. It might seem a little geeky but it’s far preferable to having to ask the same questions over and over again – that will get annoying very quickly.

You might think the first week in a new job is a scary, intimidating prospect but actually it’s the perfect opportunity to demonstrate just what a capable and professional employee you are. Enthusiasm, humility and the recommendations above will all help to make sure you finish the week with a sense of pride and excitement about what’s yet to come.

Author: Nick Peacock is CEO at Ascendant Recruitment, a Milton Keynes based recruitment agency


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