Remember back in high school when the “new kid” came to town and their arrival seemed to have everybody talking? People wanted to know their story—where they came from, what they’re doing, who they are, etc. It seems that even now, when you start a new job, volunteer experience or internship, it’s pretty safe to say you’ll get a few looks and hear some of that same old “new kid” chatter. So how do you handle it? What’s the best way to adjust to a new job or professional experience?
A blog on “Unstuck” lists 7 tips to follow when starting a new job, and I’ve chosen my 4 favorites to share with you!
1) Join the team—it’s always important to make the effort to get to know the other people you’ll be working with. After all, unless you work for a massive company or work mostly from home, you’ll probably end up interacting with coworkers on a fairly regular basis. As the saying goes, you only get to make one first impression, so do your best to smile and be friendly to everyone you meet. You never know who could become a useful connection (or even your boss) in the future!
2) Respect what you don’t know—most of us want to feel like we’re making a difference in the company we’re working for. We may look to make changes that we feel bring value to the company—sometimes these are big changes, other times they’re not. Some small changes are harmless and relatively easy to make, but if you enter a new position and start making big changes without first taking the time to understand the company’s inner workings, you could burn some serious bridges. Be confident in what you do know—if you weren’t smart, the company probably wouldn’t have hired you—but also take heed to the fact that you can’t know everything right away, and that doesn’t make you any less capable, successful or qualified. In fact, taking the time to learn new processes before trying to change things can show your interest in and respect for the way the company operates—all good things in starting to build a future with the company.
3) Speak up to get what you need—it’s inevitable that questions are going to come up when you’re starting a new job, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you aren’t sure of! I’m almost certain that employers would rather you ask clarification questions than have you do something incorrectly. Sometimes employers and coworkers even appreciate questions because it helps to reinforce their own knowledge of the subject. Just be careful not to ask questions that a little bit of independent research could have answered for you!
3) Take it day by day—in almost every new job, there will be some frustration with the sheer amount of information and stuff you have to learn. It’s easy to quickly feel overwhelmed, discouraged and even a little frightened. You may think to yourself “I’m barely even making it through my first week, how can I make it through next month… next year… how can I ever build a career here?” All of these fears are natural. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Again, you aren’t expected to know every little detail right off the bat. Be patient, both with the learning process and with yourself. Just do the best you can, and your effort and determination will shine through on its own. The learning will come if you take it day by day and try to understand the process.
Hopefully these few tips can help you when you begin your new professional experience! Career Services is always here to help with other questions you might have!
Written by Sarah, senior Finance major