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Emma Brotherton Permanent, New job...

Starting a new job...

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For most of us, starting a new job is a bit like the first day of school…

No matter how much you’ve prepared in advance, by the time that first morning rolls around you’re unsure of where to go, what to do and who to talk to. And don’t even get us started on what to do about lunch…

To help ensure your first days/weeks/months go as smoothly as possible, here’s our guide to getting off on the right foot in your new role:

Get to know the team

First thing’s first: you need to try.

OK, so you won’t necessarily be best friends with everyone on day one. But showing you’re enthusiastic about trying to get to know them, as well as being enthusiastic about your work, will naturally allow your colleagues to be more open and welcoming to you.

Try and schedule some time with each of your teammates during your first few days and find out more about them. How long they’ve been at the company, what positions they’ve held, what they do and where they’ve worked in the past, are all great potential questions to ask.

And, if there are social occasions, such as after-work drinks or group lunches, try to attend (if you’re able to) – it’s a great way to feel part of the team and get to know people on a more personal level.

Know your limitations

No one goes into a new job knowing all their objectives – but it’s sensible to know your strengths and limitations.

Top of the list of no-no’s is going in with too many expectations. Be realistic about what you aim to achieve, especially in the early months, and don’t set yourself up for a fall. By the same token, if your new boss expects unrealistic results from you, address the issue quickly before it becomes a problem.

Always beware of overdoing it. It can be tempting in a new job to volunteer for everything with the aim of making a good impression but be realistic. Take on what you know you can do well, and always talk to your team if you feel like you need a hand.

Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability, and don’t accept half measures. That way your boss will notice the effort you’re putting in.

Avoid complaining

Different companies have different ideas about how to introduce a new member of staff to their tasks.

However, although you’ll have some idea of your role because of the work you put into your application and getting through the interview process, you won’t necessarily know the ins-and-outs of the induction process until you’re officially on-the-job.

Some companies will ease you in gently with some introductory training and interaction with the business. Some companies may set objectives and deadlines immediately. Whichever approach your new employer takes, be ready to get stuck into your work – and avoid complaining, at all costs.

Speak up 

There’s a big difference between complaining and asking for help.

As much as you’re likely to want to hit the ground running, you can’t expect to be an expert in the field in your first few weeks. So, if you don’t know something, or you feel like you need help, always ask – speaking up is not a sign of weakness.

In fact, your employers are likely to be more impressed with your honesty. In a more practical sense, you’ll be learning something, rather than staying silent and hoping a problem goes away.

Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day…

Probationary periods

Different workplaces have different practices when it comes to probationary periods.

Most, however, use this time to provide you with extra training and support from a mentor, and, of course, to ensure you’re up to the job. It’s also a great way for you yourself to check in on your progress and provide feedback on your first few months.

If it sounds intimidating, it really doesn’t have to be. To avoid the prospect of a big make-or-break meeting, ask your boss for regular catch ups to go through your progress, and what’s expected of you.

That way, if you do have any issues, you’ll be able to bring them up before it’s too late!