New Job? Make a Good Impression Before You Start

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So you aced the interview and have accepted the job offer. Now’s not the time to drop the ball! The way that you interact with your new employer during your transition period can tell them a lot about the type of employee you will be. Further, the preparation that you undertake leading up to your start date will ensure that you hit the ground running.

Over two weeks ago, I wrote about how I was successful for an internal promotion within my organisation, however my current Manager would not release me to start.  Unfortunately not much has changed. I still don’t have a firm release date and my current role has not been advertised yet. My new and current Managers are due to catch up again next week to have a further discussion, because the new area have some pressing targets and are counting on my contribution.

This situation has been a little tough for me, I’ve been having trouble sleeping and skipping lunch, due to feeling anxious and resentful about the uncertainty of my transition. In addition, I have been trying to juggle a soft induction with my new team, the existing responsibilities in my current role and handover preparation. I’m due to start my MBA at the end of March and it worries me that my work situation is so uncertain. Luckily, my new Manager has been great with trying to transition me to her team as best as possible.

  • Ask for reading materials: These would vary depending on the role you are taking, but often there are a few crucial documents which will prevent you from starting from zero on your first day. For me, these documents would be the company’s organisation structure, the team’s organisation structure (with names if possible so you can look your new team up on LinkedIn), along with key contracts, agreements and reports relating to the area.
  • Tweak your subscriptions: If you will be working in a new industry or specialist field, now is a good time to set up your news feeds so that you begin to receive relevant and informative information. For example, I will be quite focused on regulatory compliance in my new role, so I have followed the relevant regulators (such as ASIC, OAIC and AUSTRAC) and organisations (SAI Global, Thomson Reuters) on LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Address your areas of improvement: If it became apparent during the application process that there are certain skills that you need to pick up or hone, now is the time to take a short course to increase your confidence and competence. It became evident from the pre-reading I have done on my new area, that I will need to brush up on my data analysis and reporting skills, so I will be completing a few free online courses in these areas.
  • Be available for networking events: If your new Manager is thoughtful, they may invite you to any events during your notice period that will allow you to meet your new team. I have previously been invited to attend an organisation’s annual conference prior to my start date. To date, my new Manager has invited me to legal briefings, a compliance seminar and to participate in footy tipping. It doesn’t hurt to casually mention that you would be happy to attend any events or meetings as necessary in your notice period. It shows that you’re committed, driven and it’s not all about the pay.
  • Consider your LinkedIn profile: You may not want to add the new position to your LinkedIn profile before you actually start the job, and that’s fair enough. However, be mindful that your Manager has probably announced your appointment to the team during your notice period verbally, or even by email to who knows how many people in the organisation. And if any of the recipients are the least bit interested, and they probably will be, they have all jumped on your LinkedIn profile to check you out. Therefore, it pays to make sure that the current information displayed on your profile is in tune with the image you want to project to your new colleagues.
  • Keep in touch: If your notice period is over a month, I recommend meeting your new Manager for a quick coffee catch up every 2 to 3 weeks in order to begin building rapport. This is particularly beneficial if you will be in a sales or client facing role, as it demonstrates your communication and people skills. It’s also likely that you will be learning more about the role and the team during these catch-ups.
  • Perform some housekeeping: Starting a new job can be daunting, particularly in the first few weeks as you adjust to possible new hours, a different commute, etc. If you know that you can no longer attend the same gym, take the opportunity to transfer before you start. Cook some freezer meals if you plan to work late for the first few weeks or months, in order to bring yourself up to speed. Undertake a bulk shop of your basic household items such as toilet paper, detergent, toothpaste, etc so you don’t have to worry about it for a month. Pack some basics to stock up your desk on the first day. I know this sounds awfully girly, but consider whether you have enough wardrobe choices for a full week at your new workplace. This is particularly important if it’s your first office job and will save you a lot of stress.

I will follow this up with a post about how to get settled once you are actually in the role, when the time comes, and I sure hope it comes soon! If you have any tips or suggestions on how else to prepare for a new role, I’d love to hear them.

That Career Girl

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7 comments

    1. Thank you :) My University provided us with access to some accelerator courses, one being on data analysis, through Harvard Publishing (http://hbsp.harvard.edu/) and my friend has recommended Udemy (https://www.udemy.com/).

      I have only recently stumbled on the concept of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS). You can read about it here and there is a pretty decent list of courses: http://www.bdpa-detroit.org/portal/index.php/comittees/high-school-computer-competition-hscc/29-education/57-moocs-top-10-sites-for-free-education-with-elite-universities.html

  1. Bringing a cake, a big smile and a good attitude on the first day never hurts, trivial as it may sound. But it certainly would not have helped with Claire Underwood as an employer.

    Great post by the way, very helpful.

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