Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out builtbygirls.com.
The job search is tough between the inevitable rejections, time spent customizing your resume and cover letter to each dream role, and the pressure of salary negotiations once you do get an offer. But when you finally do land that dream role and that exciting first day finally arrives, it’s all worth it.
Although, you’re probably ready to sink your teeth into the new challenge there are a few things to do in your first week that will set you up for success. Here's what they are.
If this is your first full-time job, the stack of paperwork you have to go through when you’re a new hire may seem daunting or a task you can put off for another day. But it’s important to fill everything out thoroughly as soon as you can.
These are tax forms like your W-4, setting up you 401k or retirement savings plan contributions, and opting into other benefits like healthcare. Remember your colleagues in Human Resources, or HR, are there to help you if you’re confused.
Introduce yourself and find a friend
During your first week, you’re going to meet a lot of new people. This can be exciting or overwhelming — or both. Do your best to remember names and roles. This will be helpful down the road when you begin working with more people and teams.
Once you’ve met a few people in the office, take note of who you connect with. In my experience, this is typically someone on my team who is showing me the ropes. This person can become your go-to for your questions as you start diving into your work. It’s also helpful to have someone you can talk with throughout the day in a more relaxed way.
For many people being hired now, your first day is virtual. This can make introductions harder. Be active on the Slack or corporate messenger service. Introduce yourself in any team Slacks and reach out to people on your team individually to let them know a bit about you.
During that first week or two, you’re going to be absorbing a lot of new information. Be sure to ask as many questions as you need to to succeed in your new role. Don’t stress about being annoying — people will want to help and no one expects you to know everything right away.
Just be sure to listen to their answers so you don’t end up repeating questions. It’s also a good idea to Google more general or non-company specific questions first.
Set your boundaries
It’s normal to want to come across as the hard worker that you are, but don’t set expectations you can’t meet. For example, you can show you’re dedicated without always being the first one in and the last one out.
Be sure to be on time and don’t leave until your work is finished. But if you set the tone that you’re okay working very long days, that will become your norm. People respect people who know the value of work-life balance.
Keep your manager in the loop
At the end of your busy first week, it’s a good idea to send your manager a quick email with a status update. Wrap up you week by letting them know what you accomplished or learned in your first week, ask any questions you still may have, and share your plans for the following week. This will demonstrate that you’re proactive and organized.
These tips will help you stand out in your first week, but it’s also important to be yourself. They hired you for a reason, show them who you are, and what excited you about this new opportunity.
Read more information and tips in our Advice section