Tips for your first day of the new career
Week one success is all about balance. You want to make a good first impression, but don't put too much pressure on yourself to get things right the first time. The goal is to learn about your new workplace and find your place within it.
Arrive 15 to 30 minutes early
Arriving late for work, particularly during your first week, is never a good sign. On your first day, use the test run you did earlier for your commute so that you can account for traffic, getting lost, and parking.
Aiming to arrive 30 minutes early on your first day takes care of any unforeseen delays. Even if you get stuck in a traffic jam you should still have more than enough of a buffer to arrive on time without feeling panicked.
And if there are no delays, it gives you a chance to go get a coffee and relax for a half hour before starting work. It's a win-win situation that puts you in the best position to avoid being late for your first day at the new job.
Introduce yourself to everyone
According to Keith Rollag in the Harvard Business Review, anxiety in new situations can be caused in part by a lack of confidence in how to introduce ourselves. It's a natural tendency when you're new, you don't want to draw attention to yourself.
However, you want your enthusiasm to shine through in the early days of a new job. So, find the right moment and give a quick, energetic introduction to the people you don't yet know.
If meeting new people is extremely important to you, you can enlist the assistance of others. Inform your manager that introducing yourself is a top priority for you, and request a list of people you should meet.
In meetings, you could request that the organizer give you some time at the start or end to introduce yourself. Don't interrupt a meeting to introduce yourself, and don't speak too loudly in public places.
Take note of how the other person reacts as you introduce yourself. Keep it brief if they appear distracted. If they appear receptive, you might want to get to know them better. Making someone else feel heard is a great way to make a good first impression.
Introducing yourself is particularly important when changing careers because people will always have that question about why you switched your line of work.
Unmudl Tip: Plan ahead of time. Prepare your short pitch and opening lines ahead of time so you can have a script ready.
Explain what attracted you to your new career. Don’t say anything negative like, “I had a bad boss,” or “that whole industry was a dump.” All that will reflect negatively on you.
Instead, focus on the positive things that attracted you to your new line of work and show your passion for it.
Make an effort to remember names
You can accomplish this by repeating the person's name back to them and making a quick note about them when you part ways. But don't become overwhelmed by the need to remember everyone's name. Interacting with people naturally over a course of time will help you recall who is who.
If you forget someone's name, the best policy is to be honest. Just say, "I apologize, I've been absorbing a lot of new information over the last few days. Could you please remind me of your name?”
Ask a new colleague to lunch or coffee after you've made some introductions and gotten a sense of who you'll be working with. It could be the person next to you or another newcomer who arrived at the same time as you.
Creating a trustworthy relationship will make you feel more at ease as you get to know your new workplace. Research by the World Economic Forum has shown that having social ties at work can increase productivity.
You may not find your best friend or develop a deep relationship with anyone during the first week. However, even in the short term, finding someone you can relate to will provide some much-needed stability.
Ask pertinent questions
When changing your line of work, knowing what to do will help you do your job better, so if you want to get settled on your first day in a new career, ask pertinent questions as much as possible.
You will quickly catch up if you ask your leaders and peers for new information. However, during your first week, you should figure out when to ask questions. Here are some pointers on when and how to ask:
- Consider what you need to know about your work. In some cases, you may require permission, while in others, you may require advice or validation. You'll be able to ask more specific questions and waste less time if you're more specific.
- Prioritize the information you require. For example, if you can't get your computer to work or if you need to find where a weekly meeting is held, you need help right away. On the other hand, if you are unsure about your team's quarterly goals, you should probably wait to discuss them with your manager in the coming weeks.
- Make a list of important questions so you don't forget. You can ask your manager these questions during a one-on-one meeting. You should quickly become acquainted with your manager's preferences - do they prefer to be questioned via email or in person?
If you have a lot of questions for one person or group, consider scheduling a meeting instead of dropping by their desk or office. You can include a list of your questions in the meeting invitation. This allows them to prepare their responses.
Because you are new to this career, find out what training, workshops, or learning opportunities exist in your new organization. If there are, sign up for them immediately as they will help you master your new career.
If there are none, find people in the organization who are willing to mentor you and guide you.
Explore the new workplace
If you work in an office, look for the restrooms, stairs, and elevators. Find out where the coffee machine is and where the places to eat lunch and take breaks are. Your office might offer other amenities like a recreation area or even daycare for children.
Explore your new workplace and if you haven't been given a tour, ask a coworker for one.
Start developing a routine in the workplace. Early identification and establishment of routines at the office will provide you with peace of mind and help you settle in faster.
Quickly become productive and contribute to adding value
Employees are hired because either someone left a position or there was a large gap in work output. In short, you were hired to get work done. Taking it easy in your first week will start piling up work and this leads to unnecessary pressure later so become productive quickly.
Your main priority in the first week should be to soak up as much information as you can because this career is new to you and there will be a lot to learn. However, consider challenging yourself to add value in small or large ways. Here are some ideas for you to do just that:
Ask your boss what work problem is keeping him up at night.
Solving this problem may even be the reason why you were hired in the first place. Spend your first week thinking about how to solve that problem. Don't push it or step on anyone's toes, but if you can do something, do it.
Are there key tasks that are critical for your team's performance?
Consider your interview. Was there a specific task or requirement that was specifically highlighted? Consider writing a brief proposal outlining how you would approach the challenge and get to work on it.
Tips for the first 30 days
Congratulations, you have made it through the first week. It's time to settle into your role after the excitement of the first few days on the job. This first month's goal is to learn how to apply your existing and newly acquired skill set to the challenges and opportunities that this organization faces.
Get to know your team and department better
It's critical to keep making new connections and allowing others to get to know you. Simply being present with your new team and paying close attention to how everyone works and collaborates will provide you with valuable insights into the company and group culture.
Organize yourself and form good work habits
This job is a new beginning and an excellent opportunity to break free from old routines. During the first few weeks, consider how you'll organize your calendar and to-do lists, how you'll manage your time, and what skills or practices you'd like to develop.
Discuss your performance metrics with your manager
During the first month, you and your manager should discuss your mutual expectations. This includes knowing how you will collaborate, how you will obtain the resources you require to do your job well, and how your job performance will be evaluated.
- When having this conversation, come prepared and make good use of your time. When you're looking for advice or information, you should drive the conversation.
- Put yourself in the shoes of your boss. If your expectations do not match, try to see it from their point of view and look for areas of overlap or compromise.
- Determine early successes. You most likely have a lot on your plate. Prioritize tasks that support your manager's goals as you learn more about what they value.
Tips for the first 100 days
Even the President of America is evaluated after his first 100 days in office and you will likely be no exception. During these first few months, the goal is to take ownership of your new role. During this time, you should prepare to do your best work yet.
Set a couple of achievable but challenging goals
We have more potential than we usually give ourselves credit for. Set ambitious goals for yourself, work toward those goals by immersing yourself in situations that will help you achieve them, and then repeat the process, aiming higher each time.
You may not always achieve your goals, but the process of applying yourself zealously is where significant personal and professional growth occurs.
Time to establish boundaries
You may have spent the first month of your new job bending some of your rules. Perhaps you arrived early and stayed late, or you took on extra projects to assist others.
This is a natural reaction in a new environment and you naturally want to be accommodating so that others will accept you. However, in your first few months on the job, you should begin to re-establish the boundaries that allow you to do your best work.
Ask for a 100-day review
Remember those performance metrics and success criteria we asked you to find out from your manager? Well, a 100-day review for new employees is common practice in most organizations. It may happen officially or unofficially as your seniors evaluate your performance.
Even if your new employer does not have a formalized review at this time, you may want to request an informal one from your manager. This is a quick way to check in with each other and make sure you're still on the same page.
You can provide an update on the goals you set out in your first month in your review. You can also look ahead - what goals does your manager expect you to meet in the next three months? What about the following year?
To sum things up
The first month of a new job in a new career is often a stressful time. There are new skills to learn, new colleagues and customers, new office culture, and new industry jargon. On top of all that you are always wondering if you're making a good impression.
But instead of worrying about it and putting yourself in a negative space follow our checklist to help you get a flying start from day one of your new career. These tips will infuse you with confidence and positive energy as you see things fall into place.
Besides this great guide, to assist you, we have compiled a list of books and podcasts that will give you an advantage if you are changing careers. Links to these invaluable resources are provided below:
We hope this guide will be a great resource for you to get settled starting your very first day in a new career.