You applied for the job. You interviewed for the position. You waited for the news. And you just received the phone call. You got the job. Congratulations. Once you’ve celebrated your good fortune, then it’s time to prepare.
First, talk to your current employer. Make sure you give your company ample time to hire someone new for your position. Offer to help train that person. After all, who knows your job better than you do? You want to be professional until the end. Don’t burn any bridges and finish your current job with your head held high.
Next, agree upon your start date at your new job. You may want to take a week or two between positions to shift gears, run errands, schedule appointments, or vacation. Do whatever you need to do to prepare for your new opportunity.
Change of any kind can be stressful and starting a new job is no exception. If you’ve got a few butterflies in your stomach, that’s natural. But at Premier Staffing, we want to be sure you start your new job with confidence. We believe the following 11 tips will help reduce your worry and boost your readiness for a new job.
- First impressions do matter. The old expression that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is certainly true about starting a new job, especially the first day. So be sure to make an amazing first impression with everyone you meet. How? Dress appropriately for the job for which you were hired. If you’re in doubt, dress up, not down. Greet everyone you meet with a smile and a firm handshake. Plan how you’ll respond when people ask you about yourself. Show your enthusiasm. You were excited to be hired; don’t hide that. As author Malcolm Gladwell says, “We don’t know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility.” Make strong and positive impressions with everyone at your new company.
- Respect your hiring manager. The person who hired you saw something in you he or she liked. Return the favor by putting your trust in this person. During your first few days—or weeks—you’re bound to have questions about the position. Rather than running into his/her office with each new query, keep a list. When you have 4-5 items, knock on your manager’s office door and say “Do you have a minute?” Doing so shows you respect your manager’s time and that you’re motivated to learn. Win. Win. After you’ve had some basic questions answered, ask your manager, “If I have further questions, whom do you recommend I ask?” Your manager will either tell you to keep visiting his/her office or give you a name or two.
- Read the fine print. Human Resources will require you to sign a great deal of paperwork—insurance plans, a W-4 form, direct deposit forms, contact information—so make sure you read everything before you sign it. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification. You can also ask for a day or two to consider your options. If your new employer offers a matching program for retirement savings accounts like a 401K, make sure you take advantage of these matching funds. If you don’t, you’re throwing away money and reducing the real value of your salary.
- Define expectations. After you’ve been on the job for a month or more, you’ll have a clearer understanding of your role and your duties. Now would be a good time to set up a brief meeting with your boss. Start by saying something upbeat and positive like “I’m really enjoying learning about my new role here.” Then move into a more specific request: “I want to be sure I’m meeting all your expectations. Can you list your top goals for me?” Your manager will either spend some talking with you or promise to forward them to you. You want to be sure you have these goals in writing. It’s much better to know your expectations upfront than discover, later, you weren’t meeting them.
- Get to know your peers. If co-workers invite you to lunch, go. If they ask if you have any questions, ask. If your co-workers give you advice, thank them. Nothing is more important than strong relationships in the workplace. Take time to get really know the people in your company, especially those with similar jobs. Be friendly and keep confidences. Resist the urge to gossip. If you have strong allies, you’ll always have people who can help you. In addition, connect with your new colleagues on social media. LinkedIn is a good, non-risky first step. As your relationships deepen over time, you may wish to connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
- Establish good habits. Starting a new job is a great time to re-invent yourself. So, if you had any questionable or bad habits at your former position, you can avoid them in your new role. Think of it from your manager’s perspective. As you’re walking through the office, would you like to see your employees on their personal phones, noisily laughing with co-workers, taking frequent breaks, or checking out Facebook? Probably not. Even if the employee’s behavior lasts only a moment, the boss is likely to remember it. Keep your head down and work hard. Sometimes is perception is reality.
- Be early. Leave late. If the early bird gets the worm, perhaps the early worker gets the raise? Pad some extra time into your morning schedule. Make sure, at least for the first few months of your new job, that you arrive earlier than your co-workers. You’ll never feel rushed or stressed. Arriving early allows you to settle in, drink some coffee, and be ready for the day. At the end of the day, don’t rush out the door. Make sure you’ve completed all your work and made a list for the following day. As everyone is winding down from a busy day, it may also be a good time to check in with a co-worker or your boss about a project. You spend a lot of time at your workplace. If you make sure you’ve wrapped up everything for the day, it makes it much easier to disconnect for the night or weekend and focus on life outside of work.
- Talk, don’t email. We’ve all become so reliant on email, we’ve forgotten the art of the spoken word. When you’re tempted to fire off an email to someone who sits 20 yards away, stop for a moment and think. Unless you need something in writing, make the effort to stand up and go speak with that person. Do the same with clients. If you can pick up the phone and have a real conversation, do that. No one likes having their email box clogged up with messages that could be resolved with a brief exchange. Avoid the back and forth of email chains. Whenever possible, try to talk to people. It’s a good way to connect and it will save you time.
- Be a team player. Listen. Volunteer. Participate in meetings. Offer your help. And learn how to help your team. If you’ve ever felt swamped at work, you’ll know the incredible feeling when a co-worker offered to help you. Be that person at your new job. Since you’re coming in early and leaving later, you should have some built-in extra time to help others. Make your offers quietly. You don’t need to draw attention to yourself. But if you see someone struggling, offer to help. You may learn a new skill and you’ll certainly build rapport with your co-worker. Everyone loves a team player. Sometime in the future, when you’re buried in work, you may have someone helping you.
- Stay positive. Remember how excited you were when you received the call about getting this job? Channel that feeling and try to recall it every day. A positive attitude will see you through many a busy or rough day at work. Of course, as with any workplace, challenges will arise. You may have conflicts. But resist the desire to vent with a co-worker. Find a trusted friend or family member with whom you can discuss work issues. Leave your work issues behind when you exit your workplace. The more upbeat you remain, the easier your job will seem.
- Take it slow. Give yourself time to adjust to your new work environment. It may take you a month, three months, or longer to feel comfortable with your position. You’re bound to make a mistake or two. Mistakes lead to information and change. Take it easy on yourself. Set goals and work toward them.
At Premier Staffing, we want to congratulate you on your new job. We’ve been connecting employees and employers since 2011. We know finding the right fit is important and we hope the 11 tips above help you prepare for your new job. At Premier Staffing, we want everyone to find everyone to find the ideal place to build a career. Talk to the best staffing firm in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.