Renovo's award winning career coach, Emma Louise O'Brien, shares some advice on how to make a positive first impression and what you can expect on your first day in a new job...
It is important to integrate successfully into your new job and quickly build a positive reputation in your new professional environment. A new job is a great opportunity for a fresh start but ahead of your first day, some thought and preparation is required.
Before You Start
Before you start your new job, take some time to do some research and learn about your new employer. Visit their website, have a look for any news articles about them and see what you can find. Doing this background research will allow you to familiarise yourself with key members of staff and structure within the organisation.
Were there any skills gaps identified during your interview? Is there anything you can read or do to bridge those learning gaps before your first day?
The way you dress is very important on your first day. You will have got a feel for your new company's dress code when you went for the interview, so you should try to dress similarly. If you’re unsure of the best way to dress, always dress slightly more smartly than you think you should. You will become more aware of the dress code in the first few weeks and you will be able to dress appropriately.
This may seem quite obvious but plan your route. The best way to deal with any new situation is to plan for all eventualities and to be prepared. You don’t want to be late - if you’re taking a new train, bus or a new route, do a practise run at the time you would be travelling every day and allow extra time for traffic. Your interview may have taken place at a quieter time of the day, so try and travel ahead of your first day so you have a better idea of your journey time.
First impressions will have a lasting effect on your new colleagues, so even if you are nervous try to smile. When you are introduced to people in different departments ask questions - if you’re not sure about anything, e.g. people’s roles - ask. Introduce yourself to other people in the business, this will demonstrate your enthusiasm and positive nature and help gain a clearer understanding of key stakeholders.
You are bound to be asked about previous employment, experience, yourself, and so like you would at an interview, think about the answers to these questions ahead of your first day.
Unless they remind you, it’s quite easy to forget the administration that comes with starting a new role. Ensure you have taken all ID with you, including bank account information, National Insurance number, referee contact information and P45. You will appear organised and this will also allow plenty of time to make sure you are paid on time.
Once you have got through your first day, the main focus will be on how to integrate into the team and focus on completing a successful first month. How well do you know the people you are working with? Evaluate the personalities of those you work with and discover how they work together. Study other successful individuals; what do they do right? Identify what makes them successful and how you can do the same. Can you identify a potential mentor?
Learn the various modes of communication within the organisation. Does everyone communicate via emails or verbally? What form of communication does your manager prefer?
Focus on learning about all aspects of your new role, the faster you do this the quicker you will settle in. It will be important to keep track of all information gained so having a diary or notepad to refer back to key information will prevent you from asking the same question twice.
Your First Month
By the end of the first month you should have aimed to have learnt about the organisational structure and have understood the key business objectives. Within your first few weeks you should have established objectives and targets for your new position with your Manager. After your first month you will probably have achieved everything you had set out to achieve so at this stage, you will want to put together an action plan and set some goals for the next 6 months.
Planning Your Career Development
Put together an action plan and put it into practice – what do you want to achieve over this time frame? What business and personal objectives are you working towards? Make sure that you have a think about what you personally want to achieve over the next 6 months, this will show that you are enthusiastic and proactive as well as keen to develop further.
Set goals with your Manager, making sure they are achievable and SMART. Setting goals can be quite easy but make sure that they are goals that you can achieve in the next 6 months and will show how you can add value. Discuss these with your manager and work out how your progress will be assessed over the next few months. Keep your own copy of what is discussed to remind yourself what you want to achieve so you can keep track of this.
Reward Your Success
By setting goals and objectives to work towards you can keep a record of your progress, but how are you going to reward your hard work? Having a reward or target to work towards will help keep you motivated and focused in both meeting and exceeding your goals. Most importantly though, take one day at a time and take time to take stock and revaluate your performance. Integrating into a new role takes time so be realistic and enjoy your new role.
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