So after graduating this summer and taking a few months off to celebrate your success and find work, you’re finally about to start your first permanent, full-time job. This is an exciting time and also possibly a nervous one. There is nothing wrong with feeling nervous, apprehensive and even a little anxious in the first days of your new career. In fact these are perfectly natural and healthy reactions to have. The first 100 days of your job will be about working through these emotions and settling in and adapting both to the routine and lifestyle of a full-time worker and to the organisation you now find yourself a part of. Here are some tips to help guide you successfully through those crucial first 100 days.
- Keep things in perspective. It’s going to take a while to adjust to what is essentially your brand new life, so don’t expect to become employee of the month on your very first day. You are of course there to do the job you’re being paid for and your managers and colleagues expect you to do that job—but they know you’re new and will take this into account.
- Be curious. As everybody will know you’re new, they’ll be expecting you to ask questions and will be more than happy to answer them or point you towards the answers. It’s common to hear bosses and experienced professionals telling new charges to ask anything they like. In most cases this is not simply a formality—people really mean it. After all it’s in the company’s best interests to encourage your curiosity, as the sooner you find out what’s what, the sooner you’ll fit in and start building up your productivity levels.
- Interact. Don’t feel like the only time you can open your mouth is to ask a question. Sit with your new colleagues at lunch or take your coffee breaks at the same time as one or two other people on your team. Take these opportunities to chat to people. Get to know them and let them get to know you. After all, you’re working together as a team and it’s the support from that team that will help you through your first days.
- Be a good listener. Like we say in our eBook 135 Networking Tips, as important as it is to talk to people, it’s also crucial that you listen to them. Don’t just ask questions for the sake of asking questions without listening to the answer. Take on board what others are saying, not only when they’re answering your questions but also in regular conversation. You’ll be surprised by how much you can pick up and how much easier you can make your life by listening out for key pieces of information and advice.
- Transfer your academic skills to the workplace. Finally, just because this is a brave new world doesn’t mean you have to leave behind all aspects of your old life. In fact some of the skills and competencies that characterized your time at university can work to your advantage if you choose to transfer them to your first job. For example, you may well have had to present essays or experiments whilst at uni. Work presentations are not that different to other types of presentation, including academic ones. Just as you prepared notes and slideshows and rehearsed what you were going to say for class presentations, make the same preparations for your work presentations.
For more advice on how to handle the first hundred days of a new job regardless of whether or not it's your first, check out the end section of our ebook 100 Essential Career Change Tips, which also includes unmissable advice on changing careers and developing effective job search strategies.