How to start a new job – Career Counselling – first steps

How to start a new job

A 3½ minute read • Jane G

Part of our career counselling series. It can be an anxious time when you start a new job, but it’s also a great opportunity. So whether it’s your first role, or your twentieth, there are some things you need to know.

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We’re here to help you set off on the right track from your first day.

Grasp the opportunity

What’s the worst thing that can happen? Well you could find out that it’s not the job for you, or the company doesn’t live up to your expectations, or you decide you can’t take the daily commute.

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But the greatest risk, in my opinion, is the risk of not fulfilling your potential and the potential that the people who employed you saw in you. Many in the workforce are disengaged. That means that while they might be turning up for work, they’re not really that interested in what their employer is trying to achieve and they’re not feeling fulfilled by the work they’re doing.

Don’t risk being disengaged. Take the opportunity of a new job to really make a difference, contribute to a company whose aims you support and learn a lot on the way.

10 top tips to make your move to a new job a success

  1. Find out what’s expected of you, by whom and by when. This information may not be offered and even if it is, it may not be all you need to know. Ask everyone you meet what they need of you in your new role. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything, but at least you’ll have a clear picture of what others think your job’s about.
  2. Have an open mind, there will be lots to learn. The most important things you learn probably won’t be part of any formal learning that’s provided, it will be the stuff you learn from other people.
  3. Be yourself. They hired you for you. In fact, it’s probably the main reason they picked you from the other candidates. The people who selected you for the job will have had the chance to get to know you and decide that they like you, but they’re probably taking a bit of a gamble on whether you can actually do the job.
  4. Smile and introduce yourself to people, even if they’re not in your team. It can feel really awkward at first, but chat to people in the kitchen while making coffee or over the water cooler. And get along to as many social events as you can.
  5. Find your own working style, and do things your own way, but pay attention to the standards, values and culture in the company you’re joining. In some places, you’ll have loads of freedom to choose the way you work. In others you’ll be expected to comply. Find out which it is – ideally during the recruitment process – and work the system to achieve your aims.
  6. Ask lots of questions and listen carefully to the answers. It will help you to understand how things happen and learn how to make things work, but your questions may also help others think differently about how they can work to greater effect. New joiners can be a real catalyst for positive change in a team.
  7. Don’t keep your head down and your mouth shut. Talk about where you used to work and share different ways you’ve seen things work. Good companies will want to hear about that, and they’ll learn and evolve as a result of your input. Lots of change and innovation happens bottoms up these days.
  8. Find a ‘buddy’ if one isn’t allocated to you – someone outside your management chain who can help you get to understand how things happen and how to get things done.
  9. Take notes so you can refer to them later and don’t have to keep asking the same questions. That can be really annoying, and it makes you look as though you don’t really care and don’t value other people’s time.
  10. Don’t be afraid to use your initiative, suggest other ways to do things and share your ideas. You may not have much experience of the company yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a positive impact from the start. What’s more, you will have a fresh perspective on things in the first couple of months. Once you settle in, things that once seemed new and different will start to become your new normal.

And finally

Be courageous. Your very arrival is a challenge to the status quo. The first few months of your time in a new job are a fantastic opportunity to create a new future – for you and the company. Make it a good one!

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