Updated: Apr 30, 2019
The first day of your new job can feel a bit like the first day of school. You wake up at the crack of dawn, put on your carefully selected outfit (approved by all your friends – and Mom), and can hardly eat breakfast because there’s an Olympic gymnast in your gut doing cartwheels.
But the similarities end there. Starting your first professional position requires a different mindset. Although your employer will provide an orientation, it won’t be like the detailed syllabus in your
last college course. You must be proactive in getting the information you need to be successful.
In today’s blog, we’ll get you off to a strong start with the three things you must do during your
first week on the job.
1. Meet With Your Boss to Discuss Expectations
When it’s your first week on the job, no one expects you to know everything, anticipate every problem, or complete your tasks quickly. There’s a learning curve. However, you don’t want to make assumptions about how fast the learning curve should be. To make sure you’re on the same page, it’s important to sit down with your new boss to discuss their expectations.
At the beginning of your first day, see what they have planned for your orientation. If you don’t see an opportunity for one-on-one time with your new boss, ask if that’s possible. Explain that you’d like to discuss their expectations for your first week. Set a date and time – making sure it’s as early in the week as possible.
During the meeting, here are some questions to ask:
How would you define a successful first week for me?
Is there any information you want me to read or watch this week?
Are there any coworkers you’d like me to meet this week?
What specific tasks do you expect me to complete this week?
By confirming these details, you’ll save yourself a lot of needless anxiety. You’ll know exactly what’s expected of you in the first week. Your boss will also appreciate your proactive approach.
2. Get to Know Your Coworkers
Some employers have more thorough orientations than others, so if there’s no set process for meeting with your coworkers, ask about scheduling 15-30 minute informational interviews with key staff. Ask your boss to help you identify which people you’ll be working with most closely, but also those who’ll have an impact on what you do every day.
For example, let’s say you’re the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Sales. You’d want to meet with all the other executive assistants of top-level executives, but also with the Pricing Manager and Marketing Manager because they’ll be collaborating frequently with the VP of Sales. You’ll need to understand their roles and how they might interact with you.
Here are some example questions to ask when meeting with coworkers:
What is your role, and what are your responsibilities?
How does your role interact with my position?
How can I make your life easier?
What are your expectations of my position?
In addition to these work-focused questions, don’t forget to be human. You’re meeting someone that you’ll see every day for (hopefully!) a long time. Be friendly. Ask questions and share a bit about yourself. You’ll probably need to lean on your coworkers a bit at the beginning, so thank them in advance for their help. Good work relationships make everything easier.
3. Give Your Boss a Status Report at the End of the Week
You made it to Friday. Congrats! But before you pat yourself on the back, it’s time to wrap up your successful week with a status report to your boss. There are several benefits to this:
You can confirm you’ve met the expectations discussed earlier in the week.
You’ll come across as an organized professional with sharp communication skills.
You can solicit feedback on your progress.
The status report doesn’t have to be elaborate. It could simply be an email with bullet points.
Here’s an example:
Thanks for making this a great week! I wanted to summarize what I’ve completed, so you can provide any feedback and decide on my focus for next week.
Completed orientation with Human Resources
Completed all three modules of the online training course for our CRM
Interviewed everyone in our department - John, Stacy, and Brent
Interviewed Mike from Accounting, Josh from Sales, and Amanda from Marketing
Had a walk-through of our new manufacturing plant
Prepared three work orders
Answered three customer calls (with Stacy coaching)
I’d love to meet with you Monday to discuss when you’d like me to take over all incoming customer calls and what other tasks you’d like to delegate.
That’s it! Three simple steps that will give you the edge as a new employee. By establishing expectations, getting to know your coworkers, and wrapping up your week with a professional status report, you’ll be less stressed and make a positive impression on your new employer.