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7 Tips for a Successful First Week on the Job

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The hunt is over. Someone hand you a cocktail, because you’ve landed a job! Countless resume submissions and practice interview sessions have paid off, and you’re scheduled to start soon.

The question is, when you step in the door of your new office, what can you do to make sure you stay off the job market for good? How can you make a great first impression and form a lasting, meaningful relationship with your new employers? Start with these seven moves in your first week:

1. Focus on introductions

New employees are often distracted and rushing from one introduction to the next. All this meeting and greeting makes it easy to commit a small social mistake. You might forget the name of a new coworker before the handshake is even over. And you might leave an introductory conversation without saying “goodbye” or “it was nice to meet you.”

Each time you meet someone new, smile, shake hands firmly, maintain eye contact and repeat the person’s name. Then say goodbye before you walk away.

2. Ask to meet your boss

If you’re welcomed and shown to your workstation by a coworker or HR manager, take a moment before the interaction ends to request a meeting with your actual boss. This person may be out of the office or too busy to meet you right now. But find out what’s going on and make plans to meet with her later. Don’t wait for her to come to you.

3. Create a functional workstation

If your password isn’t working or you need to order more paper clips and manila folders, speak up. Don’t let this slide until your second week on the job — that’s a surefire way to fall behind.

4. Make your lunch matter

Your boss or coworkers may invite you out to lunch, and if they do, go. But if not, determine how lunch is conducted. If it’s a social affair, make an effort to join the fun. Don’t fall into the habit of eating on your own.

5. Scope out a mentor

You don’t have to tell this person you’ve chosen them as a role model — at least not yet. But keep an eye out for someone who might be able to teach you how to fit in and earn respect in this culture. (Click here to Tweet this thought.)

6. Scope out bad apples

If you notice employees who seem to bring others down or who seem to be actively avoided, make note of this and think twice before you engage with them. You can get to know them on closer terms as time goes by, but if you value your career, don’t let them become your first and closest friends.

7. Solve a problem or tackle a challenge

If you aren’t presented with a single, clear-cut project during your first week on the job, create one. Clarify your goals and hit the ground running. Don’t let days and weeks go by while you wait to be told what to do.

Jenny Treanor is a career advisor and job search expert who provides consultation for staffing firms, hiring managers and job seekers across every industry. Her blogs and articles appear regularly on LiveCareer, home of America’s #1 Resume Builder.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

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  • Career Sidekick

    Excellent tips. I commented on this on LinkedIn too, but I think these tips are great even if you’re just transferring to a new group/department within your company for the new year. I know that’s quite common even if you’re not joining an entirely new company, and these tips are great in that case too.

    • The humanist

      Jenny, some of these advises are pretty creepy, unless offered to robots or monkeys. Better to approach a new job with an open, curious and inclusive mind set when interacting with colleagues. Or consider this; what would a nursery look like if we asked our kids to apply advise 4, 5 & 6 on their first day? Great ideas otherwise.

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