How to Start a New Job the Right Way

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The first day is always the hardest: here's how to connect while still making an impact.

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So, you bluffed your way through the interview. Or maybe you’re completely qualified to be the President of the United Rates society* (*not a real company). Either way, you’re turning up on Monday for a job you’re super pumped to get stuck into and you want to make the right impression. How do you tread carefully enough as to not upset your new colleagues but make enough of an impact to render yourself immediately indispensable?
Here are a few starters.

DO: Do your research
You don’t have to spend your Saturday inspecting endless LinkedIn profiles of your new office pals, but you should spend some time having a look through the company’s recent history. Have they bagged any notable deals of late? Is there a new direction the CEO mentioned might be in the future of the firm? What’s their stance on [insert important issue here]? While there’s nothing wrong with asking questions, you’ll definitely assert a pro-active attitude if you’ve taken the time to stay on top of company happenings so that you can casually drop them into conversation. Also, if there’s an offer of daily briefings, we suggest that you take them – you really shouldn’t put a stop to learning at any level of your career.

DON’T: Bluff your way through
You might be a gun at your job but in a new environment, there are bound to be things you haven’t yet got your head around. And, as Instagram COO Marne Levine points out, there’s nothing wrong with being a rookie or not having all the answers.
“Often times, you go into situations and you haven’t had direct experience there, and that can actually be a strength, not a weakness, because you come in with fresh eyes,” she told us. “Often times what the person thinks is, ‘Oh, there are a lot of really smart people in the room, they must’ve gotten together and they must have covered this.’ The truth is that they might not have, so speak up and point things out.”
The key is to own what you don’t know – it’s the first step towards finding the answer.

DO: Use past experience
You might have been hired for your fabulous taste in kicks, but it’s more probable that you’ve been hired because what you do have is a very particular set of skills. Skills that you have acquired over a very long career, just like Liam Neeson in Taken. And that’s an asset, so it’s fine to apply them in a new context.

DON’T: Use your past experience to hinder your progress
A new position is just as much of a learning curve as ever: presumably you’ve taken this great new role to stretch yourself, learn something new and get out of your comfort zone. Using what you know is one thing: replying to new colleagues with the phrase, ‘that’s not how I used to do things’ isn’t helpful to you or your new company. Use your knowledge as a jumping off point, not a road block.

DO: Put your new agenda on display
You’re ready and raring to get stuck in at your new position. Your enthusiasm for making real change happen is palpable – and it’s probably part of the reason you were hired. Because first impressions last, be forthcoming, honest and excited about your ideas for the company when you finally get stuck in. People love fresh blood and most people will appreciate that someone who’s willing to put some elbow grease behind making waves for the better.

DON’T: Ram it down people’s throats
You can go too far with letting new friends know about your potential plans for the business. Don’t forget you’ve only been with the company for five minutes – it never bodes well to start moving break room furniture around on your first lunch break. No matter how great your ideas or how catchy your tagline, you’re new to the team so you might want to hold your order on personalised red snapbacks. Slow and steady wins the race (and the hearts and minds of your new colleagues).

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