Starting a new job on the right foot is key to your success, so it’s important to take every step possible to make the right first impressions.
It’s normal to have some fear and anxiety when starting a new job. but you can reduce your fears when you have a plan in place for starting a new job. This article outlines tips and advice on how to start a new job successfully.
Table of contents
Things To Do Before Starting A New Job
Preparing for a new job means you’ll have to make some changes in your life and get things organized. Make sure you’ve taken care of these things.
Confirm Start Date and Onboarding Schedule
Your offer letter may contain some of the important details. But it probably won’t include the start time, location, who to ask for when you arrive and other information you’ll need during your first days on the job.
Some organizations may have a rigorous onboarding program, in other organizations, your orientation into a new job and company may be less formal.
If you haven’t been provided with all the information you need for your first day on the job, you should ask for the information. You want to be as prepared as possible for your big day.
Research Your Team and Manager
Before you step foot in the office or start virtually, research your manager, the team, and leadership. You want to look for things you have in common and that you can reference to help build your connection and working relationship.
You also want to research what the employees have in common with each other – did some of them work at the same company before or attend the same college?
When you research the backgrounds of people at your new job, it may give you some insight into how work gets done, how things are communicated, and what people like.
Return All HR/Payroll Paperwork
When starting a new job, you will be required to complete paperwork for HR. Return the completed information/forms as soon as possible. This shows you are responsive and sets the right first impression.
Prepare For Your New Work Schedule
It’s time to get back into the work routine. And while you don’t know exactly what that will look like with your new employer, you do know that you’ll have less personal time.
From scheduling to food prep to clothing, make sure you have everything organized for the first week at your new job. The more preparation you do in advance, the less stressed you will be.
Next comes your first days on the job. Follow these 8 tips for starting a new job.
Your First 90 Days In A New Job
The first 90 days of a new job are important. You want to make the best first impression with everyone you meet. You also want to position yourself for success. Here’s what you can do during your first 90 days.
1. Ask your new manager for a meeting
When starting a new job, it’s important to make sure you and your boss are on the same page. Even if you’ve already discussed expectations during the interview, now that you are an employee, It’s time to revisit the topic.
During this meeting, ask what your boss’s expectations are for you and the job.
- How will my performance be evaluated?
- How do you define success in this role?
- What do you expect me to accomplish in my first 90 days?
- What is the best way for us to communicate?
- What qualities and traits do you respect most from your employees?
- Who are some of the key people here you think I should meet?
Plus any other questions to help you feel you know how to be successful in your new job
Your purpose for asking these questions is to understand your manager’s expectations and how you can best manage those expectations.
This first meeting sets the tone for how you’ll communicate and work with your new manager. It shows you are thoughtful and interested in creating a partnership. If you continue to have an open dialogue with your manager, it will alleviate confusion, frustration, and misunderstandings.
2. Create your 90 day plan
Based on the information gathered during the interview process and conversations with your new manager, create your plan for how you will acclimate to your new job for the next 90 days.
Having a plan will help you feel more in control and give you a sense of satisfaction as you check items off your list. It also provides measurable results you can share with your new manager.
Some companies have very good onboarding procedures. Other companies do not. By developing a plan for starting your new job, you’ll combine what the company thinks you need with what YOU think you need to come up to speed quickly in your new job.
Here’s a rough outline of what to address when creating your plan for your first 90 days:
30-Day Plan: During the first 30 days in your new job, time is spent attending training, meeting team members, learning the organization’s systems and its products and services, reviewing procedures and client accounts. Address how you will achieve these goals.
60-Day Plan: During the first 60 days, you’ll be meeting with your supervisor to gather feedback, building relationships with your colleagues, identifying potential mentors, learning about company processes and procedures, visiting other departments, studying best practices in the industry, and continuing to attend training.
90-Day Plan: The later part of your first 90 days requires you to begin putting your learning into action. Depending on your role, that could mean actually producing work. Set your goals for implementing new strategies and procedures, new initiatives, and/or communication plans, marketing plans, operations plans.
3. Observe and learn from co-workers
There’s often a pretty big learning curve when starting a new job and one of the best ways to tackle this is by asking questions and listening to people you work with.
Ask lots of questions about processes, procedures, and why they do things the way they do so you understand the history.
You’ll also want to take note of who knows who, what employees are saying in the break room, and how they behave in front of managers and leaders.
When you are new in a job, it helps to understand company culture so you can adapt and fit in.
4. Be open to new ways of doing things
As you learn and listen, you will likely want to share what you know or better ways of doing things. Do not say anything yet. You should wait until you are asked for input or ideas before trying to help.
You don’t want to come across as a know-it-all or as someone who doesn’t listen. There is plenty of time for you to voice your opinions and ideas. Maybe, just maybe, their way of doing things works well for their culture and company.
5. Figure out what you want to be known for
You have a clean slate as you start a new job. Consider how you want to be perceived by your new manager, co-workers, support staff and leadership.
What is the “personal brand” you want to bring into this new organization?
And by the way, you’ll be asked many times to introduce yourself.
Have a 45-second response ready when asked to introduce yourself. The best way to concisely answer this question is to provide a very high-level overview of how your past roles have prepared you for this job, two or three of your top strengths, and what you’re looking forward to in your new role/company.
6. Develop your internal career goals
Where do you see yourself in 1 year and what do you need to get there? Part of your internal career plan will include meeting people throughout the company and at all levels.
Be realistic about your goals and expectations.
7. Keep a running list of accomplishments from your new job
Creating a record of your achievements and accomplishments will help you have better conversations with your manager, especially during performance reviews.
Your list of accomplishments may be used internally as well as externally. Consider adding them to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
A simple notepad with three columns will do. Just be sure you update it regularly and have access to it if you are laid off.
Actions: List the actions you plan to take to achieve your goal
Success: Determine how you will measure your achievement on this action item
Target Date: Commit to a completion date
8. Identify professional development opportunities
In the early days of starting a new job, there’s a lot to learn.
Once you’re up to speed, continue to look for opportunities to grow. It doesn’t matter whether you pursue internal courses, external classes, membership in or a leadership role in professional organizations. You’ll want to stay up to date (and marketable) by keeping an eye on what trends and tools are being used outside your current organization.
It’s also a good time to look for mentors. It doesn’t need to be a formal or long-term commitment, nor do you need to call it a mentorship. It simply means that you have permission/agreement from someone to ask for their advice and insight. You want to learn what they know. And they are agreeable to sharing this information with you.
Wrapping Up Your Job Search
Your job search has taught you a lot of things. One of which is to never stop looking for your next opportunity. You realize how time-consuming it has been to engage your network. It’s much easier to maintain connections rather than build them from scratch. And believe me, you will be looking for a new job in the future. So here are some things you should do after you’ve started your new job.
9. Add Your New Job To LinkedIn
Once you’ve gotten a feel for your new job it’s time to update your LinkedIn profile. Add your new job title, company, and an overview of what you expect to accomplish or the assignments you’ll be working on.
If you want to celebrate your new job, take it one step further and post a status update on LinkedIn announcing your new job. Be sure to thank people in your network for their support and offer to help others who may need it.
10. Create time to continue to network
How will you keep in touch with all the people you’ve met over the past several months? How will you meet new people associated with your new role inside and outside your new company? What professional associations will you join?
All these questions point to the fact that you need to build time into your schedule to stay in touch and meet new people.
11. Inform recruiters of your new status
As tempting as it may be to cut all ties with recruiters you’ve met, don’t. Instead, let them know what new title you would be looking for and your new salary requirements.
If you ever have the chance, refer a great coworker or colleague to a recruiter who is trying to fill a job. Referrals are powerful and recruiters appreciate them. Just make sure the referral is relevant to the types of roles the recruiter is trying to fill.
If there are other jobs you are still in the running for, carefully consider whether you should continue the process or inform them that you have taken a new role. Just because you recently started a new job doesn’t mean you can’t interview for another job.
12. Share your success story with your network.
Fellow job seekers want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your friends want to hear the good news and celebrate with you! Be sure to notify everyone you contacted during your job search and thank them for their support, no matter how small.
Closing the loop shows your compassion for them. It’s a wonderful way to pay it forward and set the right example.
Reminders When Starting A New Job
Consider this a list of to-dos when starting your new job:
- Keep your boss informed
- Listen more than talk
- Establish a good attendance and performance record
- Learn and remember names
- Ask questions/ask for help
- Be prepared for meetings
- Don’t try to change things (unless asked to)
Focus On Your Career Momentum
- Set professional development goals
- Track of your accomplishments
- Attend professional association meetings
- Maintain contact with connections outside of work
- Find a mentor/be a mentor
- Grow your network
When preparing for a new job, it’s important to map out a plan and take initiative to get what you need to be successful. You also want to be intentional about every action you take and ensure it represents you positively.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.