5 smartest actions for your first week at work

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Your first week at work in a new job sets the tone for how you make progress for the rest of your time at this company. Adding these savvy actions to your first-week to-do list will up your chances of making a great impression during your first five days - and beyond.

1. Prepare an elevator pitch 

You may not want to relive the interview stage when you needed to be able to succinctly sum up your work background, but accept the fact that your new colleagues will be interested in finding out about you.

Work up a few sentences about your previous job and company - an elevator pitch, in other words. That way,  you can give a clear, ramble-free explanation of where you’ve arrived from. If you were unhappy in your last role, having an explainer ready also cuts the risk of speaking negatively about a previous employer, too. 

2. Draw a people map 

Settling in on premises? Diagram colleagues' names, job titles and where these people sit. When it comes to getting to know your new work and team mates at large, these three things can be tricky to remember. Particularly if you’re ever asked to ‘take this form to Craig in accounts’ and have no idea where to go.

Give yourself a visual head start by drawing a map of the office or workspace. Start with your workstation or desk, then those around yours, . Finally work up to the whole workspace. Label each workstation with the person's name and what they do. Then update it whenever you have new information. Being able to navigate your way round and knowing who’s who will pay dividends when it comes to settling in socially.

3. Make sure everyone knows your name

Your first few days will probably include a tour to introduce you to your new colleagues. But if not, take the initiative and walk round to meet everyone anyway. Aim to have said hello to everyone by the end of the week. Don’t rely on others to come to you.

Next step? Follow up digitally. So, assuming you’ve already updated your job title and employer, connect with new colleagues on LinkedIn (at HR GO, we encourage candidates to get to know their LinkedIn accounts inside out). Having those new connections to be able to refer to is another way to remember names and faces. Plus it helps your co-workers get to know you too.

4. Help someone in need 

During your first week, look to lend someone else a hand if your own responsibilities are lighter than usual. Does anyone look swamped or stressed, or have a daunting task ahead that you feel able to help with?

Even if it’s beyond your job description, offering some help makes a great impression. It could also create a potential ally at work. And in the process, you may get some valuable intel on how things are done, and a sense of the company culture. 

5. Get used to tracking your wins

Chances are, you’ll need to speak to your manager frequently about tasks and projects in the first week anyway.

Use these catch-ups wisely. If you’ve accomplished good things - you’ve done something well or received good feedback - make sure you keep a note and let them know when you speak.

Plus, if you start taking note of your successes from day one, you’ll also be more prepared for your first performance review. After all, it’s never too early to show them you’re organised and proactive, and shaping up to be a valued team member. 

With these simple tips you should be able to make a great impression in your first week at work.

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