“Be on your best behavior!” Those familiar words from parents when you were starting a new school year or staying at a friend’s house for the first time. Most of us have times where we’d rather sleep in or we stayed out a little too late, but your first month on the job is crucial in your long-term success with the organization. Putting your best foot forward during the initial thirty days sets the tone with your employer, supervisors, and coworkers.
7 Ways to Rock your First Month on the Job
1. Prep Before You Start
Hopefully, your new employer will communicate with you between your hiring and first day. It’s helpful if you can fill out the paperwork prior to your first day at work. The employer may share a company employee handbook and onboarding plan for your first few days or weeks on the job. These should be reviewed before you begin. Aim to understand the expectations for the first day, like company dress code, arrival time, lunch plans and more. If your new employer doesn’t readily share these details with you, ask!
2. Show Up Before Your Starting Time
Rushing in late every day and scurrying to your workspace won’t create the impression you desire. Likewise, packing up 15 minutes before your work day is done and running out the door a couple of minutes early will likely show your manager and peers that your level of commitment is low. Be settled and ready to work five minutes in advance and limit the urge to rush out the door when the clock strikes 5 pm (or whenever your work day ends).
3. Ask Questions
You’re bound to have MANY questions during your first month on the job. Don’t pretend you know or understand a task that you really don’t. Employers may assume you’ve done something before or learned about it in school. Your questions should not surprise managers if you were straightforward in the application and interview process. Each company has their own internal lingo and acronyms that may be completely foreign to new hires. Don’t hesitate to admit your need for more information and clarification.
4. Take Notes
While we encourage you to ask questions, your peers can become quickly annoyed if you are asking repeated questions or those that have been answered by other means. Don’t meet with your boss or sit in on a meeting without taking a notepad and writing instrument, or electronic device for note-taking. One of the employers’ biggest pet peeves is having to reiterate due dates or other details that were already discussed.
5. Limit Distractions
Check your employer’s policies on mobile devices (if they have one), but it’s good to limit activity when you’re new to a job! Turn your phone ringer off. Stay off social media. Don’t use your work email for personal communication. Save this for breaks or after work, unless it’s an emergency. Have a plan for back-up daycare, transportation, or other predicaments that could crop up.
6. Be Social
No, not on social networks! Get to know your coworkers. Introduce yourself and ask questions to understand everyone’s role in the company and how long they’ve worked there. Participate in company gatherings and go out to lunch if you’re invited (even if you must take a break from your diet for one day!).
7. Go Above and Beyond
Don’t resign yourself to providing the minimum. If your employer asks you to submit three ideas for a new project – submit five! An assignment is due next week, submit it this week (without skimping on quality).
If you finish projects early or find yourself with nothing to do, ask your supervisors or coworkers how you can help. Demonstrate your dedication to hard work!
Knock out your first day on-the-job: check out this checklist.