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How to onboard yourself into a new job

13/04/2017
Posted by: Helen Watson

There was once a time when onboarding was somewhat of an afterthought, or indeed, a non-thought, for many organisations, however most companies will now have comprehensive programmes to ensure that successful candidates are swiftly integrated into their culture. Even so, as a new starter you should make the most of your first few weeks at a new organisation, and take steps to ensure you onboard yourself to the best of your own ability.

Before you begin

Make sure to utilise the break between roles. Don’t let the grass grow beneath your feet on the gap between finishing an old position and starting a new one. While it is important to make sure you’re well rested and mentally prepared to start in a new job one of the most effective ways to make use of any time off in-between is to create the foundations for strong professional relationships. Write a personal thank you to your interviewer, or hiring manager, thanking them once again, and take time to find out what you can about your new line manager and colleagues.

Review your induction schedule and handbook. It’s likely that you’ll receive both before your start date, so make sure you set aside plenty of time to read them both through thoroughly. Pay particular attention to the dress code, and give yourself enough time to find appropriate outfits if the formality differs from your prior place of work. If you aren’t provided with a schedule or policy handbook, requesting them will certainly set a good impression.

In your first week

Regardless of seniority, as a new starter, it’s crucial that you take the time to speak with each of your new colleagues. Establishing the foundations for strong professional relationships creates a more enjoyable work environment and can help you grasp the office structure and culture more quickly. If it helps, prepare some small-talk topics to draw on when introduced to new colleagues – this can be particularly useful if you’re joining a large team.

At the end of your first week, schedule some time to sit down and speak with your line manager to discuss how you are finding your new role. This conversation will give you a chance to get some initial feedback, discuss anything you are finding challenging, and ask about how your progress will be reviewed in the coming weeks and months.

Looking forwards

Professional development should be an ongoing effort. Make sure to set yourself a 90 day goal at the end of your first week, and regularly review your progress towards achieving this. It is also important to regularly review your skillset and discuss opportunities to develop any skills which would benefit your new work, or team.

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