Tips for Starting a New Job


When recently asked by one of my friends for some advice on starting a new job, her response of 'THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I WILL DO ALL OF THIS!' made me think it might be worth sharing with the ether. Having been in the beauty industry for over six years, I have certainly experienced my fair share of first days and been witness to plenty of comings and goings to have formed a little army of tips. Whilst I hope there's something in there you can take away from this, at least I know it helped my friend who aced it through her probation and first six months in the role. Here goes...

1. Meeting new people.
This is probably the most overwhelming part of starting a new job. So many new faces. Introduction > hand shake > already forgotten their name. That's usually how it goes, right? They all know who you are (aka. the "new girl") but you don't have a flipping clue who they are. 

Top Tip: Draw a sketch of the office layout with how the desks are configured and write down the names of where people sit as soon as you are introduced. You can always ask your boss to help you fill in the blanks if it's too inappropriate to complete in real time. Once that's done, layer up with their job titles so you can start to make sense of who does what and those you'll be working with the most.
 I did this for one of my new starters and it helped her get up and out of her chair to speak to people as she knew where they sat! There's nothing more terrifying than walking around a packed office worrying you're going up to the wrong person!
2. Take a notebook with you everywhere...
...and always write notes. By writing it down you'll be processing the information and it will help to build upon your understanding of the wider business (this is important for identifying ways to improve efficiencies, ensure you work effectively in your role and make yourself indispensable to the company). Particularly the early notes you write will always be a great reference point when you get stuck into the day-to-day. It will also mean you don't have to ask your boss how to raise a purchase-order five times a day!
3. Ask Questions. 
Don't feel awkward or embarrassed to do so. No matter how basic the question, ask it to ensure you are 100% in your knowledge and understanding. We've all been there when we've sat at our desk worrying about asking a particular question for fear it might be stupid, allowing that (irrational) fear to grow into being "found out". That, put simply, will not happen. Every company has their unique way of working and it will take some time figuring out how they work.

Be mindful that not asking for clarification could lead to your team/manager presuming you know what you're doing or you presume something (which could be wrong/different). You're new so you can ask questions! Consider it a grace period when endless questions are tolerated (albeit read the signals if your manager / colleague happens to be crazy busy at the time and request some time to set aside with them one-on-one). Keep hold of your right to ask questions when you are years into a job too - it shows you are trying to constantly learn, improve and be as efficient as possible.
4. Filing. 
If you don't know me personally, it may be new information to you that I love to be organised. At the age of seven I had implemented my own filing system (much to my father's despair and diminished office supplies!). So, on hearing this, it will be no surprise to know that I'm efficient AF with my filing. Labelled folders, project sheets, status trackers, an email archive (or three) to make the New York City Library look easy to navigate. My advice? Build out a detailed filing system so you can locate something at the drop of a hat. Chances are you'll be juggling so many projects or details that searching through an inbox of 5000 emails is just not the one. My advice? Match your inbox filing system with your computer document filing system so you can easily access information - the file paths will become second nature and you'll be more efficient than Mr A navigating London's streets (he has inbuilt GPS, I'm not kidding). Also, never delete anything job-related as it is better to archive it than lose it altogether (this has nothing to do with most of us working in a blame culture, obvs).

5. Know what the business wants from you.
Understand what is expected of you in your role. It sounds simple but with the incoming barrage of emails, you can quickly lose sight of this. Keep a copy of your job description or KPIs at easy reach so you ensure you prioritise effectively. Deliver them and then some. Focus on the first half of that sentence in your first few weeks and then over the months develop upon that.

6. Show respect. 
When you're first meeting everyone, you won't know who is Director from Intern so just be polite and friendly and professional to everyone.

7. Start as you mean to go on. 
It's important to be aware of the company culture and to digest what you see and hear around you in your first few weeks (hopefully you will have an idea from asking about this in your interview!). Get a feel for how the office works, i.e. lunch breaks, tea breaks etc. There's no point working 12 hours days throughout your probation only to drop it off dramatically once you've passed. You're in it for the long haul so it's important that you don't set the wrong precedent. Consistency is a greater trait from a manager's perspective. 

8. Avoid 'cliques'. 
Stay reserved for the first few weeks as you get to know everyone's role in the company. There will inevitably be 'that' crowd so just be cautious before you jump in. That's not to say don't make friends, just let the dust settle and feel the lay of the land before you start a group WhatsApp.

9. Listen and adapt. 
Making notes will help craft your own little Bible for getting your job done, particularly where processes are concerned. Whilst it might all seem a bit alien at the start, put milestone dates in your diary to revisit your notes and refine them.  Once you become more familiar with the people and departments etc, you will have gained more perspective and understanding to see if you can improve upon these processes to make them more efficient based on your experience to date.
And my few final pointers:

  • For the managers out there, this book has been highly recommended for tackling a new role. Let the professional do the talking and make all the right moves in your first 90 days for maximum impression. 'The First 90 Days' by Michael D. Watkins.
  • Keep your phone off your desk. A buzzing phone and messages from your Mum/best friend/dog with the inevitable "How's it going, love?" is not a distraction to have on your first day!
  • Write a daily to-do list. It will help you keep focused, be at the top of your mind to share with your boss / in a meeting and give a great sense of satisfaction as you tick off! Top Tip: No more than 6 a day is realistic!
  • And finally, have confidence. You know your craft otherwise you wouldn't have got the job in the first place. Now, just show them why they hired you.

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2 comments

  1. Yes, office layout is a godsend.
    Cora ❤ http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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    Replies
    1. Helps with learning names that's for sure! Thank you for reading!

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