Embarking on a new job can be as exhilarating as it is nerve-wracking. It’s a fresh start, a step forward in your career, and a chance to make a lasting impression. But with so many unspoken rules and expectations, how can you ensure that your first week sets the tone for success and growth? Fear not, because we’ve got you covered. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the “7 Things You Must Do on Your First 7 Days on a New Job.” From establishing key relationships to understanding workplace culture, these crucial steps will not only ease your transition but also position you as a proactive and engaged member of your new team. Whether you’re a first-time employee or a seasoned professional tackling a new challenge, these insights will help you navigate your first week with confidence and poise. So, let’s get started and turn those first-day jitters into a foundation for a thriving career!
Table of Content
- Questions to answer
- Before your first day
- Day 1 morning
- Meet your manager
- Meet your team
- Learn the unwritten rules
- Set goals for the week
- End of week reflection
- Ongoing success
Questions to answer
- What should you do before your first day?
- How should you prepare on the morning of? What to wear?
- What should you focus on during the onboarding process? What questions to ask?
- How to make a good first impression with your manager and teammates?
- What are the unwritten rules and norms to pick up on?
- How to balance building relationships and getting up to speed on your responsibilities?
- What goals should you set for your first week?
- How to wrap up your first week and set yourself up for ongoing success?
Before Your First Day
The time leading up to your first day is crucial for setting yourself up for success. Here are some key things you should do:
Research the company culture and values – Check out the company website, social media, press releases, and news articles to get an understanding of the company mission, culture, and values. This will help you align yourself to the environment on day 1.
Understand your role – Review the job description closely and conduct additional research on your position. Understand how your role ladders up to department and company goals. Come prepared with questions to fill any gaps. According to research, 61% of adults consider career development opportunities when evaluating jobs (source).
Prepare questions – Make a list of questions about your onboarding schedule, training, team dynamics, processes, etc. Being curious and engaged demonstrates motivation to learn.
Finalize logistics – Confirm start time, parking details, paperwork to complete, and any technology or access needs so you can focus on onboarding tasks.
Morning Routine on Day 1
Arriving early on your first day sets a great impression of being eager and responsible. Give yourself plenty of extra time to account for traffic or transportation issues. Arriving 10-15 minutes early shows initiative without being overly early.
Carefully pick your outfit the night before to project professionalism and confidence. Follow the dress code guidance you received during the interview process. Even if the office dress is casual day-to-day, it’s wise to err on the formal side for your first week. You can always dress down slightly as you get acquainted with the cultural norms.
Come in with a positive attitude, ready to learn. Your first day excitement will give you energy to take in all the new information. Be friendly, smile, and focus on starting conversations to get to know your co-workers. Though it’s normal to feel some first day nerves, try to project an air of confidence to make others comfortable approaching you.
The onboarding process is a critical time for new employees to learn about the company, their role, and build connections. According to https://cciconsulting.com/how-to-drive-employee-engagement-during-onboarding/, “The purpose of an onboarding program is to support the employee’s journey to becoming a successful contributor within the company.” To make the most of onboarding:
- Be an active listener during presentations and training. Fully focus on the information being provided.
- Ask clarifying questions if you need more context or examples. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Take detailed notes during onboarding. This will be helpful for future reference.
Onboarding lays the foundation for you to thrive in your new role. Actively participating and taking initiative demonstrates your engagement. According to https://www.predictiveindex.com/blog/the-close-ties-between-onboarding-and-employee-engagement/, onboarding and employee engagement go hand in hand.
Meet Your Manager
Your first interaction with your manager is important, so make it a good one. Express your excitement for the role and eagerness to learn from them “Look for common ground. Try to find out a little bit about who your people are, their interests, and their track record,” advises management expert Michael Watkins. Ask them how they like to communicate with their reports in terms of frequency and preferred methods (email, chat, in person, etc.) This helps set clear expectations. You’ll also want to understand their priorities for you in your first few weeks, as well as their short and long-term vision for your role. Going into detail here will ensure alignment from day one.
Meet Your Team
One of the most important things you can do in your first week is start building relationships with your new coworkers. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to everyone on your team. Walk around the office and make it a point to meet each person. Give a friendly greeting, share a little bit about your background, and express excitement to be working with them.
While quick introductions are a good start, don’t stop there. Set up 1:1 meetings with each of your direct teammates during the first week. Use these meetings as a time to get to know each other on a personal level by asking questions about their role, background, interests, and more. Find out how they like to communicate and work with others (Indeed, 2023). Building connections early on will help foster effective collaboration.
Look for opportunities to socialize with your new colleagues. Accept invitations to team lunches or happy hours. These informal settings allow you to establish rapport within a more relaxed atmosphere. Get to know your coworkers as individuals, not just colleagues. With a little initiative, you can begin developing the strong relationships that will support your success (Indeed, 2023).
Learn the Unwritten Rules
When starting a new job, there will likely be unwritten rules or norms that you’ll need to pick up on. Observing and understanding these unspoken workplace etiquette rules is important for integrating into the company culture smoothly. Pay attention to small routines like when people take lunch or break times. Notice if employees stay on later than official work hours, and whether they dress more formally or casually. Understanding the unwritten dress code can help avoid awkward outfits that stand out. According to Office Etiquette: 17 Unwritten Rules of the Workplace, it’s important not to be overly casual or sloppy on your first week. Err on the side of being too formal at first.
Clarify details like working hours and the dress code during your onboarding. It’s better to ask questions upfront rather than mistakenly violating unspoken workplace norms and etiquette later on. Pay attention to how your coworkers interact to get a feel for the social environment. Are there regular group lunches or after work social events? What topics of conversation seem appropriate or inappropriate? Understanding the unwritten social rules can help you build relationships more smoothly.
Set Goals for First Week
It’s important to set clear goals for your first week on the job to give your initial days and weeks some structure and purpose. Consider setting SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Some examples of good first week goals include:
- Shadow teammates in your department to understand their key responsibilities and how your role supports them (source). Ask questions and take notes.
- Complete any required training programs and onboarding tasks to get up to speed on company policies and procedures (source).
- Ramp up on your job duties and begin managing a small portfolio of responsibilities with guidance from your manager.
- Set 30, 60, and 90 day goals to continue building your skills and developing in your new role (reference).
Setting clear, achievable goals will help provide direction and focus during your onboarding period. Review your progress regularly with your manager and team to ensure you’re on the right track.
Reflect at End of Week
After your first week, it’s important to take time to reflect on how things went with your manager. Schedule 30 minutes to meet with them and review what you accomplished during the onboarding process. Come prepared to discuss your progress on training, initial assignments, and relationship building. Be ready to talk about what went well and any areas you want more clarity or support on. This is a great time to review your role’s priorities and expectations based on your first week’s experience.
Leverage your manager’s feedback to start making adjustments to your work approach. They likely have valuable insights on how you can be most effective in your new role. Make sure to have an open dialogue about any blockers you are facing or additional resources you need to ramp up quickly. Based on the discussion, you may need to modify your initial 30, 60, and 90 day goals.
The end of your first week is a prime opportunity to ensure your onboarding sets you up for ongoing success. Be proactive in applying your manager’s advice over the coming weeks. Check in regularly to provide updates on your progress and get course corrections as needed. Reflection and adjustment will help you excel in your new role.
As noted in the Harvard Business Review article The Power of Reflection at Work (https://hbr.org/2014/05/the-power-of-reflection-at-work), regular reflection allows employees to process experiences and feedback in order to maximize growth and improvement.
Focus on Ongoing Success
As you wrap up your first week in your new role, it’s important not to lose momentum. Focus on building on your initial progress to set yourself up for ongoing success.
Continue prioritizing learning and relationship building. The more you understand about the company, your role, and your colleagues, the better positioned you’ll be to thrive. Seek out opportunities to shadow teammates, take on new challenges, and collaborate. Maintain an open and humble attitude — you have a lot more to learn!
Also continue soliciting feedback from your manager and colleagues. Check in regularly to make sure you are meeting expectations and improving in the right areas. Feedback will be critical in helping you course-correct and adapt to the role. Take feedback constructively, with an appreciation for the time others invest in your development.
Finally, maintain a positive, patient, and flexible mindset. The first few weeks on any new job can be overwhelming, but know that it will get easier. Be patient with yourself as you tackle the learning curve. Stay flexible, as priorities may shift. And focus on controlling the controllables – your effort, attitude, and willingness to grow.
Starting a new job can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. By being proactive, engaged, and focused during your first week, you can get up to speed quickly and start making meaningful contributions. Recapping the main points, here are some keys to a successful first week:
Before your first day, thoroughly research the company, your role, and your new team. Come prepared with questions to ask and an understanding of the business. Arrive early on day one with a positive attitude, ready to listen and learn. Be an active participant in onboarding – ask clarifying questions, take notes, and complete any training. Introduce yourself to your manager and team members; inquire about expectations and priorities. Observe unwritten rules and norms. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your first week around job shadowing, training, and initial responsibilities. At the end of the week, reflect on your progress with your manager and make any necessary adjustments. Moving forward, continue building relationships, leveraging feedback, and staying flexible.
By following these tips, you can start off on the right foot. Stay hungry to keep growing in your new role. The first week is just the beginning of an exciting career journey ahead!