Getting a new job is cause for celebration, but if you want to make a good first impression, work begins immediately. How do you prepare for your first day, build bridges with new colleagues and stand yourself in good stead for the future? Matt Moody takes a look
1. Save the date
Before you start your new job, you’ll need to negotiate a start date. Taking some time out can have its benefits, says Tom Hiles, who started a new role as a planning officer with Cheshire East Council last year.
“Taking a break gives you an opportunity to reflect on your new position – take some time to ask yourself questions like what you hope to get out of the new job, what you want to achieve, and why you decided to leave your former position.”
A break can have practical benefits too, according to Shaun Lewis, a director at recruitment firm Lewis Davey.
“If you’re more experienced and leaving your job, it can often be because it hasn’t quite worked out, so a break to regroup and consider your priorities is a good idea. Also, when you start a new role you should avoid taking extensive holidays in your first few months, so a break between jobs can be a great way to relax before the challenges ahead.”
2. Update your status
There’s no problem with telling friends and family as soon as you receive your offer, but when should you announce your new job to professional contacts?
It’s important to be considerate to both former and future colleagues.
“Starting a new job is always really exciting, but it’s a good idea to consider the team you’re saying goodbye to,” says Hiles. “If you’re connected with them on social media, you might want to avoid sounding too excited about leaving them behind.”
You should also be careful not to pre-empt any official announcements, cautions Lewis. “It’s best for your new colleagues to hear about you joining directly from their boss and not through social media. Similarly, you should allow your previous employer time to speak to clients about your departure before they see the change on social media. Updating on the day you start is the safest approach.”
3. Come prepared
Your first day at a new job is not dissimilar to an interview. You’re aiming to make a good impression on existing staff and learn as much about the organisation as you can.
Preparation is key if you plan to hit the ground running. “It’s worth being bold and arranging to speak to people you’ll be working with before your first day, even if it’s just your line manager”, says Hiles.
“If your team is in the middle of a big project when you arrive, they might not be able to spare much time to talk about the bigger picture and the company’s situation. Having a good understanding of current projects and live issues ahead of your first day will help you make a meaningful contribution from the get-go.”
4. Don't be late!
Punctuality is essential, so leave nothing to chance on your first day. “A dry run of your commute is a great idea”, advises Hiles. “Online directions aren’t trustworthy enough to risk it on your first day and show up late”.
Timing is important for this, adds Lewis. “Journey times can double or even triple during rush-hour, so make sure your practice run happens at the same time of day you’ll be travelling to work. It’s worth checking out the parking situation, too, if you’re driving.”
Tom Hiles is a planning officer for Cheshire East Council, specialising in neighbourhood planning
Shaun Lewis is director of town planning recruitment at Lewis Davey
Charlotte Morphet is a local plan officer for the London Borough of Waltham Forest and co-founder of Women in Planning
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