How to fly through your first day, first week and first month at a new job

21 April, 2021

Whether it’s your first day or your fifteenth, acclimatising to a new workspace can be intimidating. Here are some pointers to help you put your best foot forward and settle in more smoothly.

Before you start

  • Read as much about the company as possible: official websites, social media platforms, marketing materials, customer reviews.
  • LinkedIn search your boss and any prospective colleagues
  • Get feedback from anyone in your network who uses their product
  • Get in touch with anyone in your network who could be a potential customer
  • Identify which mentors could be helpful to you in your new role
  • Write a private note to yourself reflecting on what you learned in your last role, and new ideas to try in your new one.
  • Practice your introduction: a succinct intro on where you worked before, why you left, and what you’re looking forward to in your new role.

First Day

  • Give yourself extra time to get up and out the door.
  • Dress suitably. What you’re wearing will create a lasting impression and influence people on whether you’re worthy of further attention or not.
  • Be extra professional, even if the vibe is laid back.
  • Introduce yourself to everyone who passes your desk. Direct eye contact, remembering names, and a warm smile go a long way.
  • Listen as much as possible and try to absorb everything.
  • Attitude is everything. People associate positivity with the ability to perform well.
  • Don’t chat on the phone. If friends and family message to ask how things are going, wait until your lunch break before responding. The same goes for internet surfing – wait until you know the rules and have a feel for office culture.

First Week

  • Take notes on everything. Attend all onboarding meetings and training. Focus on listening and remembering as much as you can.
  • Take the initiative. If you find yourself with time on your hands, be proactive and ask for more work.
  • Arrive a little earlier and stay a little later than your typical shift requires. Don’t take long lunches and strive to be efficient with your time.
  • Show how much you appreciate others’ help with simple gratitude and a smile.
  • Build trust with your coworkers. Credit your team early and often.
  • Nothing will ruin your reputation faster than office gossip and politics. Be careful you don’t get drawn in.
  • Don’t trash talk your old employer. No matter what the circumstances, it reflects badly on you.
  • Don’t turn down help or advice, even if you’re totally capable of handling things yourself. It’s a great way to bond with colleagues.

First Month

  • Set yourself a few achievable goals and revisit your list every couple of months as necessary.
  • Ask for regular meetings with your supervisor to share feedback and stay on track. This is a fantastic rapport-building exercise and helps your boss feel confident in their decision to hire you.
  • Get organised. Develop a system to flag appointments, meetings, project goals. Set reminders. Don’t be late for anything, especially in the first few days.
  • Keep track of everything you achieve. This is enormously helpful to position you for promotion down the line.
  • Network a lot. Actively look for occasions to meet people. Building positive relationships is key to your growth and development, especially in the first few weeks.
  • Pay attention to the unspoken rules. What do people generally do at lunchtime? How do they conduct themselves in meetings? Is there loud office banter or do people generally speak quietly amongst themselves? Fit in where appropriate while maintaining your sense of self.
  • Find a mentor. Who are the stars of the organisation? Watch them carefully, see what they do and how they behave. Introduce yourself.

And lastly, try and be yourself. No one does this better than you.

Good luck!

Robyn Young - Personal Leadership Branding for Executives

About the Author

Robyn Young

As a personal leadership branding strategist, Robyn Young helps individuals identify and articulate their unique strengths, values and goals, empowering them to build an authentic personal brand that resonates with their stakeholders.

Robyn has a keen eye for aligning personal attributes with professional aspirations, helping her clients project a powerful and compelling image in their chosen field.