How to excel in your first days at a new job

Published: 10th January 2007
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How to excel in your first days at a new job
by Dave Lloyd, Silicon Valley recruiter

Whether you're a high school student starting a part-time job, a
recent college graduate fortunate to have a job, or newly
employed in mid-career, starting a new job is full of great
expectations and some tensions and anxiety.

In order to make a great start at a new job, there are a number
of things you can do to start out well. These are derived from
my years recruiting in Silicon Valley and from many discussions
with employers, employees, and other recruiters.

Take these recommendations seriously. They are the ticket to
starting out well on an individual and interpersonal basis.

1. Dress appropriately. Hopefully you were paying attention
during the interview to the attire of company employees .
In general, it's best to dress a little nicer than usual until
you're certain of what's appropriate.

2. Take lots of notes. Many employees keep a notebook for each
new position, maybe spiral bound, in a notepad, or
electronically. You can keep new procedures, new names,
passwords, important phone numbers here until you've memorized
them. Additionally, during the first few weeks you will be asked
to complete many administrative tasks - a working log of their
progress is the first, and easiest, way to inform your boss of
your work ethic.

3. Be on time - to work, to meetings, when returning from lunch.
Flakiness or irresponsibility is a very easy label to acquire and
one that's difficult to get rid of.

4. Be in learning mode for a few weeks. Pay attention to the
company culture. Listen more than you talk. Have your antenna
up for who really has the ear of the influencers at the company.

5. Really work at being a team player. In every organization,
this is a very critical element of long-term success. Ask for
help when you need it. Offer help when it appears others need
it. Let your peers and boss know, by your actions more than your
words, that you're out to help everyone do better. Make your
boss look good. Give credit where credit is due.

6. Go first in relationships in order to make new friends.
Research has shown that establishing close friends at work
increases performance, attendance, and overall satisfaction. It
also makes the day go worker and your work more fun. But making
friends always requires that one person initiates and another

7. Develop a to-do list from day one. Not everything will be
urgent but it should at least go in one place where you can
revisit it regularly. At the end of the first week, go over your
current to-do list with your boss and have them approve it. Make
this a regular discipline, for the benefit of both yourself and
your boss.

Dave Lloyd is a veteran of helping companies like Palm,
Handspring, Apple, and Hughes Electronics hire great
employees. He is the author of "Graduation Secrets: How to
Guarantee Academic, Career, and Relational Success".
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