Five things you should do in your first week at a new job

Starting a new job is among the most daunting experiences in our professional lives.  After all, you only get one chance at a first impression.

As well as trying to wrap your head around your new responsibilities, learn the office culture, make friends, and demonstrate your ability, you’re also trying to keep your feet on the ground and build a successful future for yourself.

It is natural to want to keep your head down and not draw attention to yourself, like a mouse among sleeping cats.  This is a mistake!  Here are five things you should do in your first week:

Ask your supervisor (and employees) to lunch

By asking your supervisor to lunch, you are showing your new boss that you are confident in your new role and you are serious about learning the ropes.  I would advise you to keep this lunch just the two of you if possible, as other employees may dominate the conversation.

It is also an effective way to get to know your supervisor on a one-to-one basis, outside of the formal office environment.  It is important for them to get to know you.  This is your chance to tell them what you want out of this job and where you would like to go in your career.

If you’re a manager, take your staff out to lunch, either in small groups, or one-to-one if possible.  This is your chance to understand what makes these individuals tick, and establish what you expect from them.

Introduce yourself to everybody in the office

You will be spending lots of time with the people in your department and organization over the next few months and years.  So be sure to take some time to introduce yourself to everybody in the kitchens, boardrooms, or even by visiting their workspace.

Understanding the office culture is critical to success.  You will likely need to collaborate with other departments on a multitude of projects, so make friends with them quickly to establish your relationship.  Too many new employees fail to integrate themselves into the social side of a new office and get left out in the cold.

Learn about all of the current and upcoming projects

Fully brief yourself on all of the current projects in your department.  Wherever possible, you should do your research, but do not be afraid to ask smart questions.  It is in your colleagues’ interests to help you succeed, as your work will affect theirs.

Try to establish what other people are working on and where you can be of assistance, but also what scope you have for innovation.  Every employer is different; some will let you pursue your projects, whereas others prefer a top-down approach. 

Learn about the location of your office

Being successful at work requires you to be happy in your job, and comfortable in your environment.  However moving to a new place, especially if you have moved away from home or college for the first time can make you feel isolated and unsettled.  This is not conducive to success in your new job.

Ensure that you learn the area quickly.  Where are the best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops?  What activities are happening locally?  With whom in your office do you share hobbies?

This will help you to settle quickly into your new environment, and even take the lead in your office’s social life.

Reconnect with former colleagues

It is easy when you start a new job to be swept up in your new professional life.  As a keen networker, try to get into the habit of keeping in touch with your old colleagues quickly.

You never know when you will need a referral, or when your new job requires a connection from your past.  Remember to keep those professional relationships alive.