Resource Centre Career Development First Days in Employment: How to stand out

First Days in Employment: How to stand out

Your job search has come to a positive end and you finally nailed that job. You have signed the acceptance letter, gone through your contract of employment and signed it. Your starting date is clearly marked in your calendar and deeply etched in your mind. Emotionally, you are a roller-coaster in high gear; you are […]

first week in a new job

Your job search has come to a positive end and you finally nailed that job. You have signed the acceptance letter, gone through your contract of employment and signed it. Your starting date is clearly marked in your calendar and deeply etched in your mind. Emotionally, you are a roller-coaster in high gear; you are excited for the new step in your career, and you are happy that the job search is over, you are pensive about the new role and worried whether you will perform as promised during the interview, you worry whether your boss and colleagues will like you and whether the working environment will be favourable.

All what you are going through is normal. You can, however, make your reporting day strategic and leave a lasting impression on your boss and colleagues. Whatever you do in the first days of employment can have a positive or negative impact on the rest of your stay in that company. Here are a few tips on how to carry yourself and begin your new job on a high note.


Mind the timelines

Irrespective of the current office culture, stick to what is written in your contract. Report in time and leave slightly after the stipulated time, unless of course your boss tells you to leave earlier. Arriving to work late raises red flags with your boss and even colleagues. Your boss might perceive that you might have time-management issues. Study traffic effects during the rush hour so that you don’t turn up late with the cliché traffic excuse. It will also help you avoid coming in too early so that it’s just you and the night guard having an awkward weather conversation waiting for the office to open. Also, be keen on keeping a regular attendance routine. Postpone anything that can make you miss a day in the office during your first 30 days as much as is humanly possible.


Watch and learn the culture

new job. what next?

It doesn’t matter if you are coming from another company or you are a fresh graduate with no prior office experience, you need to take a step back and watch what goes on in the new company. Learn the culture and seek to blend in. How do they interact? How do they dress? Are there cliques in the office? How do they go for lunch? Who is the boss? Whose word is final? Etc. Taking your time to learn your surrounding helps you blend in well with the rest of the team and learn the office politics required that might come in handy later. It is important to strategically hang out with the right crowd that will contribute to the growth and progression of your career and also help you identify a suitable mentor. You need to start working on this right from the first day.

Be proactive

Be ready for your orientation session around the company. Prepare a list of general questions and be keen to learn and understand what happens in each department. This does not mean that you ask endless questions on your first day. Ask just enough questions to gather the right information and demonstrate curiosity. Learn people’s names and if possible remember their tittles.

Also, it is wise to have a 30-second elevator pitch of yourself ready. When people ask who you are, where you are from, and what you are doing in department X, having a short pitch ready is advisable, since it ensures that you don’t forget any important information and that you create a standard impression amongst your colleagues. It also helps you avoid downsizing your importance.


Be amicable

Just because you are anxious and eager to create a good impression doesn’t mean that you walk around the office like a robot waiting for the next command. Depending on your personality, try and be as amicable as possible without being overly friendly. Smile at colleagues and engage your peers. You will gain more valuable insights from them about how things in the office work. Being friendly also sets a platform for establishing trust and good relationships that will become handy in carrying out the duties in your role.

Office and personal etiquette

You need to look and also play the part. They employed an office manager? Look the part. In as much as your first days may seem slow as you are being inducted into the team, this is not the time to be on overly relaxed mode. Being on the internet all day on social sites, overly socializing with colleagues can send the wrong message to anyone who is watching you.

You might also want to keep some opinions to yourself in the first day. If you are the type that isn’t shy about voicing opinion, you might need to tone it down on your first days, especially on sensitive topics. Respect people’s perspectives and opinions and learn to listen more than you talk.

Do not turn down invitation to mingle with colleagues. Of course this should be within working hours and within the confines of company policy. If your boss offers to buy lunch in the first week, save that packed lunch and join them. It is important to show your willingness to mingle with colleagues. This does not mean that you agree to every invite, especially those after working hours. Do not do anything you feel uncomfortable or that which you’re not sure about.

Your phone should be on silent or vibrate mode, especially if you have a not-so-corporate ringtone. Making a good impression will not be easy with your phone shrieking the latest hit song every five minutes in a quiet, busy office area.

Mind your body language and facial expression. Be careful not to look bored, disinterested, tired or any other negative emotion. Show interest in things and people you will be introduced to and try to remember as much as possible. At the same time, do not try too hard to impress. Be careful not to paint a pompous picture of yourself. Relax and let things flow.

Be easy on yourself

You need to remember that you are not in complete control what happens in an environment with so many moving parts like the work environment does. Therefore, be easy on yourself. Try as much as you can to fit in, but forgive yourself where you fall short and learn lessons from your mistakes. Every office experience is different and there is no specific manual for all, so learn from your daily experiences.

Happy new job!

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Roselinda Awinda
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