Congrats! You landed a new gig! Whether you made a lateral move or jumped up three rungs, it’s cause to celebrate.
While a vacation in between your end and start dates is recommended, once that initial Monday rolls around, it’s time to get serious. After all, as workplace expert Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. explains, you only have one chance at making a solid first impression that reassures your employer he or she made the right choice about welcoming you to their team: “During your first week, you will meet colleagues and leaders within the organization and lay the foundation for your reputation at the company. You want to present yourself and capable, skilled, professional, motivated, and friendly,” she says.
Since many feel overwhelmed acclimating to different cultural norms, office politics and processes, it’s better to break up the days with micro goals. These tangible accomplishments during your first week help to build your confidence, ease your nerves and build connections with your manager and co-workers.
Not sure where to begin? No worries: Consider this your no-brainer timeline for making it through the week stress-free.
Monday: Dress well and take notes
Remember the first day of school when you were a kid? Once you were old enough to select your own outfit, you realized how important it was to sport something that made you feel rad. Hakim says the same rule of thumb applies to your grand entrance on day one. When in doubt, dress more professionally than you normally would and try your best to appear polished and put together. And just like you’re never too old to buy a new wardrobe for a new chapter in your life, you also never outgrow the importance of note-taking. Since you’ll likely be in onboarding meetings for the first few hours—if not the entire day—come with more than a smile, but a notebook, too.
Questions? Don’t be afraid to ask them, according to career expert and author Kerry Alison Wekelo. “Learn as much about your new firm as possible by reading onboarding materials and internal knowledge management. Meet with your boss to ensure you are clear about your roles and responsibilities. Ask about setting your goals for the upcoming year. This shows your boss you are serious about your new role by being clear on his or her expectations,” she says.
Tuesday: Be friendly
Even if your office culture is more relaxed than last one, colleagues will likely give you space to settle in—especially if your first day is on a Monday, when their email is overflowing. By Tuesday, though, they’ll be curious to get to know their new co-worker, making it important for you to bring out your friendly side, according to Hakim.
If you can, she suggests addressing those you met the day before by their name, make eye contact and allow the person to be inquisitive. Wekelo echoes Hakim’s advice and challenges new employees to go out of their way to interact with as many people as you can on Tuesday. This widens your cross-functional circle, demonstrates you’re a team player and that you’re invested in lasting corporate relationships.
Wednesday: Make it LinkedIn official – and grab lunch
With two full days under your belt, you probably have your morning route in a comfortable place and you’ve at least figured out the majority of the IT systems. Since you’re — hopefully — not going anywhere anytime soon, Wekelo says it’s time to update your LinkedIn profile and announce your move to your external network and begin connecting with your team, digitally.
“Write a post about your new role and request your new co-workers. This enables you to look at their profiles to learn more about your new team and their backgrounds. Look for any of the same connections to bring up in future conversations,” she shares.
Though this should be completed outside of the office and not on the company’s dime, during working hours, Hakim suggests asking a colleague to lunch or coffee. “It’s a good idea to form professional, friendly relationships with coworkers. This amicable relationship will help you to get a grasp on the way things are done at the office and also help to make the workday more pleasant,” she explains.
Thursday: Write down your questions
By now, you’ve probably been given at least one project to dig your heels into. You’ll likely feel equal parts ecstatic and anxious about your first shot at impressing your manager, but don’t be afraid if you don’t have all of the answers quite yet. As Hakim says, managers appreciate those who are candid and thorough, especially if it means the job is completed right the first time. Since you might not have a check-in with your new boss until Friday, take Thursday to get detailed about your questions so you come to the meeting prepared.
Pro tip? Wekelo says one sure-fire way to build a solid reputation is to make one of the questions: ‘What can I take off your plate, now that I’m here?’ She says this illustrates your value to the company right from the get-go.
Friday: Set up a touch-base with your manager
If he or she hasn’t already, Hakim suggests pitching the ball from your court by requesting a quick touch-base with your new boss. Even though it’s only been a week, it’s never too early to ask for feedback. Most employers will appreciate — and value — this dedicated and methodical approach, as it speaks volumes about your work ethic and character.
“Ask what you should continue to do and what changes you should make. This attention to detail demonstrates maturity and shows your boss that you are interested in doing the right thing for the company,” she explains.