How to Crush Your First Week of Work

by on March 9th, 2013

Today’s post is written by Kelly Gregorio. Kelly writes about topics that affect small businesses while working at Merchant Resources International. You can read her daily blog at www.blog.cashprior.com.

Congrats! You finally landed a new job; it has taken weeks (or maybe even months) to get you to this goal. Even though you’ve arrived, now that it’s time to actually start working the sweaty palms and stomach butterflies seem to be in abundance.

Before you let your nerves get the best of you, relax and think about your efforts that have gotten you this far. You did research on the company, practiced for the interview and figured out a way to make salary negations work, all of these accomplishments resulted from your preparations, so why stop now? Below are tips that will prep you for the next five days, because the only thing more exciting than starting a new job is crushing it on your first week.  

Monday: Put Your Best Foot Forward

If you were on-sight for the interview, then chances are you got a sneak peek into what is considered appropriate office attire. Regardless of the standard, on your first day you should dress it up a notch above. (That’s heals and a blazer for business casual places and khakis and a cardigan where jeans and flats are acceptable.)

Arrive 15 minutes early to allow for any HR paperwork. Also, remind yourself to smile, when people are nervous or trying to concentrate they tend to forget this incredibly easy way to come off as both friendly and likable.

Adopt a new limb to your body in the form of a pen and paper and keep track of the details of the job and the office, no matter how minute they might seem (i.e. the code to get into the bathroom).

No one is going to get mad if you ask them to repeat something, after all it’s your first day, but they can get irritated after you ask a third or fourth time. Make the effort and write things down the first time. 

Tuesday: Go On an Inter-Office Safari Excursion

Pack a lunch and interact with your new co-workers in the jungles of the break room. Offer friendly conversation and take an interest in their roles within the company, after all they are your lifelines to the reality of the workplace. You may want to agree with people to make friends, but the key in this situation is to stay mostly quiet and instead listen.

Your innocence in a new workplace is a valuable thing, so don’t just give it up by hoping into a clique or gossiping about things and people you really know nothing about. Eventually inter-office personalities will all come to light, but it will take months before you really grasp the interactions of the team. Until you are sure of how you want to position yourself in this uncharted wilderness, consider keeping your seatbelt on and don’t feed the animals (aka stay neutral).

Wednesday: Put Your Tech Skills to Work, Outside of Work

Joining a new company can be intimating because the niche could be new and you may not yet consider yourself to be an expert on the industry. That’s ok because you can still contribute to its future.

Get yourself up to speed by reading popular blogs that break things down into easily digestible content. Then, subscribe to some podcasts to listen to during your commute. Because podcasts generally talk about breaking news or interview industry innovators, you’ll gain some fresh perspective. Also, these types of newswires can spark some cutting-edge ideas.

Thursday: Meetings and Input and Credit, oh my!

With your pen and paper in hand, you’ll be sure to take a lot of notes during meetings. In addition to the topics being discussed, take note on how meetings are run, how often collaboration is encouraged and what type of input seems to be the best received.

The last way you want to present yourself as is the new kid know-it-all, so follow an 80/20 rule when it comes to listening and talking respectively. When asked to share, avoid any backlash by crediting others for their thought-provoking input.

“I think Sally makes a great point, social media has been trending in X way.What she said got me thinking about Y, I’m curious what everyone thinks the impact that will have on our upcoming Z?”

Posing questions back to the group allows you to avoid the landmines of declarative statements and shows that you are treading respectively, looking to contribute to the group as a whole rather than toot your own horn.

Friday: Seal the Deal with Recognition

Take the last few minutes of your week to knock on your boss’s door. Keep things brief by saying, “I just wanted to say a quick ‘thanks’ for a great first week.”

More than likely your employer will ask you how things are going which is your chance to say, “Everything’s going really well, come Monday I’m going to follow up with X and Sally’s going to help me start drafting up Y so it can be ready for Z.”

Not only will your new boss welcome your positivity, but giving them a heads up on next week’s tasks really showcases the skills of an independent and motivated worker.

Gauge your boss’s response, most will nod their head and say “great,” but if there is any hesitation on their part be sure ask, “is there anything else you want me to give priority to?”

Employers will respect your initiative, and more than likely they’ll go home at the end of the week happy with their new hire.

What other ways can you make a great impression during your first week?

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