12 Ways to Shine in Your New Job

By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC


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First impressions last a lifetime. When starting a new job, you want to ensure your first impression is a positive one.


Here are some tips for hitting it off with your new supervisor and colleagues and getting your workspace ready for business.


Making a Good Impression on Your Supervisor:


1.      Learn your supervisor's work style. Observe your supervisor closely and listen attentively to everything he/she has to say. You'll begin to discover his/her preferred communication style and notice whether it's mostly by email or in person. You'll also see how he/she tends to respond to stressful situations and the manner in which he/she provides feedback.


All relationships take time and you will learn with time. It may be helpful to have a conversation about some basic concerns that are bound to come up so that you start off on the right foot. Be sure to ask questions about how to communicate if you are running late as well as vacation and sick policies/procedures. Be clear that you are asking these questions because you want to make sure that you follow the preferred protocol. Also, ask some questions about how to communicate your new ideas/initiatives. Is he/she ok if you run with it or does he/she want the heads-up?


Another important topic to discuss is whether or not you will you have weekly or at least monthly meetings? If not, it may be helpful to ask for these meetings. You want to make sure that you are keeping the lines of communication open and nip any problems in the bud. If your supervisor isn’t used to meeting with his/her employees, take the initiative to create an agenda in advance. Weekly/monthly check-ins can give you the opportunity to get to know your supervisor more personally. Having a good relationship with your supervisor is essential for your career success and of course, your happiness at work.

2.      Research your employer. Supplement everything you learned during the interview process with your new inside look at the company. Review the website, employee handbook, and company literature. You'll be able to ask your supervisor more intelligent questions based on your research. Ask your supervisor to recommend another employee who would be helpful to talk to about your new position and/or succeeding at the company in general terms.

3.      Take initiative. If you complete the initial assignments you're given, be proactive in finding constructive things to do. Ask your supervisor for extra work. Demonstrate your willingness to pitch in with routine tasks so you can learn the ropes and free up your supervisor's time for higher-level functions.


4.      Focus on performing well. Be punctual and keep your personal business to a minimum on company time. Try to limit your calls to your lunch hour or other breaks during the day. Commit yourself to doing high quality work and pay attention to details.


Building Good Relationships with Your Colleagues:


1.      Dress appropriately. The way people dress is one of the most fundamental indicators of organizational culture. Remember how the employees looked at your interview and strive to blend in. If you have any doubts, ask about the company dress code. Even if it's a casual workplace, you should always be well groomed.

2.      Ask questions. You can learn vital information from your co-workers. Ask questions about what they do and their perspectives on business priorities. Taking notes will help you digest all this new information and show people that you're sincerely interested in what they have to say.

3.      Socialize. Be friendly and try to learn everyone's name as quickly as possible. Accept invitations to lunch and after hour drinks, but avoid drinking to excess. From time to time, bring in food to share.

4.      Use good judgment about office politics. If you hear unflattering things about other co-workers or the company, reserve making any comments of your own until you're better acquainted with all the facts. You can be cordial without getting bogged down in office gossip.


5.      Show your team spirit. The best way to get along with your colleagues is to be genuinely respectful and helpful. Praise others generously for their good qualities and look for opportunities to help lighten their workload. Keep your word. Follow-up and be friendly to everyone.


Arranging Your Work Space:


1.      Add personal touches. Make yourself comfortable in your new space with an attractive plant, personal photos or your favorite wall art. Not only will your space feel more like home, it will also provide conversation pieces to stimulate interaction between you and your new colleagues.


2.      Get organized. Spend a few moments early on with an office supply catalog to get what you need to stay organized. You may need a new daily planner or some filing bins. Before creating paper files, consider whether you really need to print out all that paper. Electronic files may be adequate and create a cleaner environment for you and the planet. Keep your office clean and tidy. Wipe down your desk each morning especially if you have a lot of people come to your office. Wipe down your phone and computer. A clean, inviting office is also a positive reflection of you.


3.      Practice good ergonomics. Ensure your workspace is conducive to keeping you healthy and productive. You may need to adjust your chair or buy some inexpensive supports for your feet and wrists.


A new job can be challenging and exciting all at the same time. Get off on the right foot with your boss and colleagues by using common sense and designing a workspace that will serve you well.