Starting a New Job: Do’s and Don’ts

Starting a New Job: Do’s and Don’ts

Are you about to start a new job? What’s the best way to get started on a positive note? Even though it’s exciting to begin a new phase of your career, it can also be stressful and a little scary to start a new job. If you take some time to plan, though, it will be easier to get off to a great start.

One way to alleviate some of the stress is to take some time to plan and get organized. If you’re currently employed, give notice to your employer (two weeks is typical), and let your co-workers know you’re moving on. Here are tips for resigning gracefully while maintaining a good relationship with your boss and colleagues.

Plan your arrival at your new workplace as carefully as you did leaving your old job. If you can, schedule a break between jobs. Taking a few days off, or a vacation if you can swing it, is an excellent way to decompress, relax, and start anew with a refreshed and engaged brain. 

The Best Way To Start a New Job

Here’s advice on starting a new job and making the best impression on your boss and co-workers.

Create an Action Plan

Start your planning by making a “to-do” list. What do you need to get done before you start work? Take care of any appointments you need to schedule ahead of time. That way, you won’t need to ask for time off immediately.

If you need to figure out transportation, child care, elder care, or anything else you need in place before starting work, don’t wait to get it lined up. The more organized you are, the smoother the transition will be. And you don’t want to have to scramble at the last minute or take time off from a job you’ve just started.

Make a “To-Do” List

Also, make a “to-do” list for starting your new job. Not doing much other than listening and learning, even though it sounds odd, can be on that list. Taking the time to prepare ahead of time will help make your first day on the job a successful one.

One of my best bosses told me that he spent the first couple of weeks immersing himself in the organization whenever he started a new job. He wanted a thorough understanding of how the company, his role, and his team worked before he made any suggestions or shared his input. 

Of course, everyone’s job is different, but taking the time to learn as much as possible from everyone you meet at work is excellent advice. 

There are other things you can do, as well, to make your first days and weeks on the job a positive, exciting, and fun experience.

12 Do’s and Don’ts for Starting a New Job

Here are 12 suggestions for what you should and shouldn’t do to help you ensure a smooth transition to your new position.

1. Get the facts.

It’s absolutely fine to ask questions ahead of time. Depending on your organization, you can ask the Human Resources representative or supervisor any questions. If you’re unsure who to ask, check with the person who offered you the job. Find out about your work schedule, the hours per week you are expected to work, salary, benefits, and any information you need to come on board successfully.

2. Figure out what to wear.

What you wore to the job interview may be different from what you will wear at work. If you haven’t been given a dress code, ask what the appropriate attire is for your workplace.

Have a few work outfits ready, so you don’t have to scramble to find clothes to wear at the last minute.

3. Check on the company’s BYOD or BYOC policy.

Some employers have Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) policies that include tablets, smartphones, and computers. You may be expected to use your own laptop, or you may have the option to use it.

Or, more commonly, you may be required to use company equipment for all your work-related activities. Here’s information on when a company can require you to use your own technology equipment.

4. Check on the company’s social media policy.

Check out your new employer’s social media policy. Some companies don’t care about employees posting on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, or other social media sites during working hours. The same holds true for LinkedIn. Others have policies that prohibit it. Find out what is acceptable before you start posting.

Take the time to vet your social pages. Some of your new co-workers or even your new boss might want to be your Facebook friend. Make sure what they can view is fit for public consumption. Check your privacy settings and be careful about who gets to see what.

5. Don’t presume you know anything. 

Being humble is worth a lot when you’re starting a new job. Nobody likes a know-it-all, especially someone who doesn’t really know anything about the job or the organization. As I mentioned, take the time to listen and learn before you start giving advice.

6. Be nice.

Being nice goes a long way, too. People like nice people, and if you’re nice to everyone, you will get ahead. Remember that some people at the bottom of the pay scale know more about the company’s inner workings than those at the top. That’s why being nice to everyone you meet is important. Here’s how to make the best impression on your new co-workers.

7. Do arrive a little early.

One easy way to help minimize the stress of starting a new position is to do a trial run before you start the job. Figure out your transportation and where you’re going. Make the trip a few days ahead of time to see how long it takes, giving yourself a cushion for traffic or other delays. Then, give yourself a little extra time to arrive at work a few minutes early on your first day.

If it’s a remote role, ensure all your technology is in working order, and you’re ready to connect.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice.

There is no such thing as a stupid question when starting a job. Your employer would prefer that you ask. That’s easier than having to fix a mistake. You won’t be expected to know everything, and it’s better to ask for help than to guess.

Tip: If you haven’t been formally introduced to everyone you work with, here’s how to introduce yourself at a new job.

9. Ask for feedback.

Feedback is especially useful when you’re starting a job. Ask your supervisor how you’re doing, ask if they can give you any advice, and ask for suggestions on what you can improve upon.

10. Start to build relationships.

Relationship building can be challenging, especially if you’re the new kid on the block. It can be harder when you don’t have an outgoing personality, and meeting new people is a challenge. Do your best to be friendly and warm, and again, asking for advice is always an excellent way to break the ice.

11. Be flexible.

Give yourself some extra time to work at the job when you’re first starting it. Leave room in your schedule to come in early or stay late, if necessary. Spending extra time upfront can help your learning curve, and increase your comfort level with your new responsibilities.

12. Try not to stress too much. 

Consider your new job the next exciting step in your career path. Don’t expect to learn everything at once. It’s all new to you, and it will take time. If you feel yourself getting stressed, take a deep breath, collect yourself, and remember that you aren’t expected to get it all at once.

Even though you’re bringing a wealth of skills and experience to the organization, it will still take a little time for it to all fall into place.

More Tips for Starting a New Job


The Bottom Line

When starting a new job, the most important thing you can do is try not to stress too much. Everyone you work with has been a new employee at some point, and they understand what it’s like to start a new role.

Taking the time to prepare and get organized, having the logistics planned before you start, and being ready to ask questions and ask for advice can help you get to a terrific start on the next step of your career.

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  • September 13, 2023