Your First 30 Days at a New Job

So, you’ve just been hired on at the job of your dreams and you’re dying to make a good impression. Who could blame you? The importance of a good first impression cannot be overstated. Even beyond the critical first day, studies have shown that opinions formed within the first thirty days on a new job can remain with the employee throughout the entirety of his or her career. Regardless of any great successes he or she might later be a part of. As such, it is vital to approach the first month at your new job with a solid game plan. One that is designed to project the best image possible and establish yourself as a valuable and well-liked member of the team.

Surprisingly, this isn’t as difficult as it sounds if you know what you’re doing. Just as you’ll be aware of your situation and looking for every opportunity possible to make a good impression, so too will your co-workers be aware of what you’re going through. After all, each one of them has gone through the same thing at some point or another. Because of this, they’ll have certain expectations for your behavior. All it’ll take to win them over is to meet those rather simple expectations. Here are some tips on how you can pull that off:

  • Cultivate a positive attitude at all times.

    • Present yourself as the kind of person who is eager to learn. This means that during your first thirty days at your new job, you should ask a lot of questions (make sure they’re relevant ones) and take a lot of notes. In particular, employees
      like to hear questions about the history of their organization and how they handle certain types of challenges because this demonstrates a desire to fit in with and bolster the success of company policy. It won’t be long before the critical information starts coming to you without your even seeking it out.
  • Dressing appropriately is especially important during the first month at your new job.

    • Not only should you dress appropriate to the standards of your industry, but you should also take a look around at your fellow employees and take mental notes on what they’re wearing. Without copying their style directly, of course, dressing to blend in with your co-workers will help to subconsciously instill in their minds your desire to become a valued part of the team and will make it much easier for them to naturally relate to you.
  • Once you have a rudimentary sense of how things are done, it’s critical to demonstrate your ability to be a self-starter.

    • An employee who can motivate his or herself and take care of assignments without having to be told to do so is a valuable and welcome asset in any organization and the sense of responsibility you project will immediately ear-mark you for more challenging and rewarding work in the future.
  • Show team spirit by actively engaging your co-workers in a positive manner.

    • This means that you should avoid the negative aspects of office politics like malicious gossip and taking sides in a particularly nasty argument. If your co-workers go out for drinks one night after work, for instance, and invite you along, make certain you accept. This is a valuable opportunity to talk to them outside of the confines of the office and learn their true feelings about certain issues as well as to begin to relate to them in a deeper way that will facilitate greater communication during future business relations.
  • Establish a good track record right off the bat.

    • This means during your first month on the job, it is critical that you don’t take any liberties. Even if the more established employees routinely do so. Make certain that all of your breaks and lunch hours find you returning to work on time, and that you arrive on time each and every morning and don’t leave until the clock is firmly past closing time. This will create the sense that you take the job seriously and that you’re prepared to give up a little free time here and there to learn the ropes and get the job done right. Attendance is another matter that you should pay strict attention to during this time. Unless you or a loved one is in the emergency room and there is absolutely no way for you to get around it, don’t miss a single day for as long as you can. Seeing your face each and every day for the first month is important to establish you as a firm and unwavering presence in the minds of your co-workers. If you only occasionally show up, they’ll view you as an occasional entity rather than someone who is reliable and dependable.
  • During your first thirty days on the new job, nobody expects you to be an expert, so don’t go out of your way to act like one.

    • This means that you should listen more than you talk and seriously consider any and all advice that comes your way. Ultimately, of course, you will find your own way of doing things, but during this first month, it’s important that you learn as much as you can while people still consider you “the new guy/girl” and are more prone to freely dispensing useful advice. There’s likely never going to be another point in your career when people will be as open with career advice as they are right now, so take advantage of it while you can.
  • Set goals for yourself, and establish a clear plan to meet those goals.

    • One interesting method of getting the most out of your first thirty days at a new job is to write out what you feel the ideal first month would look like. Once you have a concrete (and realistic) record of what you’d like to achieve, go ahead and take the time to write out exactly what you’ll need to do to make it happen. If you fall short, at least you’ll have made a dedicated effort instead of just handling things randomly as they come. Of course, as you become more familiar with the new environment that you’ll be working in, you’ll have to make some on-the-fly changes to your plan, but it’s still better to have some idea of where you’re ultimately going. This will also help you to have an impressive response ready if that old standby comes up in conversation: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Employers like an employee who knows where he’s going and how he wants to get there.

Your first thirty days on a new job can be a frightening experience. Expectations are high and you’ll be (understandably) nervous about meeting them and making a good impression for yourself. If you take the time, however, to set up a concrete plan for how to approach this unique opportunity to show off your strengths, you should be able to meet with great success and find yourself in a position where you’re truly welcomed and made comfortable. Success, they say, depends upon a great first impression; therefore, it pays to know how you’re going to make yours.


CEO, Indaba Global Coaching, LLC


Founder DISCflex

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