Millennial Cheat Sheet: 10 Tips to Impress Your Boss from Day 1
Three rounds of interviews, tests, and meetings later, you finally landed that position you had your eye on. After all that work, don’t you want to knock it out of the park on day one? These 10 tips can help you transition into a new role and impress your co-workers (and boss!) from the start, whether this is your latest job or your very first one.
1. Do your research beforehand
You may have already researched the company before/during the interview process, but if not, do some research before your start date. Depending on your particular role, it’s a good idea to find out about workplace elements like:
· Company culture
· The organization’s mission, vision, values
· Expectations for your role
· Expectations for your team
· Size and structure of the company
· Customer demographic
· Opportunities for growth
· Dress code (tip: if you’re unsure, it’s always better to overdress than underdress. And if you have to ask “Is this shirt/skirt/tie really appropriate?” then it’s probably not.)
Most companies won’t have a “come in whenever you want” policy so punctuality will be important beginning on your very first day. Being on time may feel like a ball and chain but think of this way: it shows that you’re committed to your job and respect other peoples’ time, and also starts your day off calmly. So set that alarm clock a little early and you’ll always walk in on time and focused.
Pro Tip: Stick to your guns even if co-workers show up late—their chronic tardiness will be noticed in the long run (and so will your clean record).
3. Meet the team
Introduce yourself to fellow team members using time-honored tips for making a good impression:
· Shake hands firmly (though it’s not a finger-crushing competition)
· Make eye contact
· Repeat the other person’s name to help memorization
After meeting everyone, try to make connections. Ask about your co-workers’ interests, what they love about the company, if they have any advice to share, etc. Small connections often blossom into good working relationships or great friendships.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget about the leadership team. Try to find a time to introduce yourself, even if it’s at lunchtime around the break room table. Getting to know management ensures that you’re on their radar for the future.
Companies can move at light speed. If you’re lucky you’ll undergo formal training to help catch you up to speed, but there’s no guarantee of help. Don’t worry! Jump in with both feet and give everything 110%, even if you falter. Making mistakes is the fastest way to learn.
Don’t feel down if you’re given menial tasks during your first few days. View those as opportunities to impress! Finish those tasks in a timely manner and then return to your supervisor to grab more work. Taking on more assignments without being prodded shows initiative, which will make you more valuable to your manager.
Pro Tip: Once you’re more experienced in your role, you’ll be able to predict what your supervisor needs and deliver it before being asked. You’ll not only impress, but also quickly secure your position by going above and beyond.
When starting a new job, there’s always an adjustment period for all involved. Managers might assume that you’re familiar with things that you aren’t, and you may need to learn to interpret cryptic instructions on the fly. Listening carefully is essential to quickly establish solid lines of communication.
Pro Tip: Take notes to remember key details—supervisors tend to not like repeating themselves.
6. Ask questions
If you still have questions after listening carefully, it’s better to ask than to do things incorrectly. Ask your manager or co-worker to clarify the points of confusion.
Or, if you believe that you understand your task but sit down at your desk only to find out that it’s more complicated than you thought, jot down all your questions on a notepad. Then, ask your manager for a few minutes to go through them in one chunk so you don’t have to keep popping in throughout the day.
Pro Tip: Your team members may know the answers to your questions, especially if they’re much more experienced or have handled the tasks you’re now in charge of. Ask them first! They could save you a trip to your supervisor.
7. Get to the point
You know the saying: time is money. When giving instructions, asking questions, or making presentations, organize your thoughts before speaking. Communicating a clear train of thought makes you appear professional and confident, and minimizes the usage of filler words such as “uh” and “like” that Millennials get harped on for.
8. Spend work time on work
One complaint I commonly hear from managers and C-suite execs before speaking engagements (like Millennials and The Workplace: How to Engage in a Collaborative Conversation) is that Millennials spend too much time on social media at the office, and not enough time on actual work. Break the stereotype on your first day by only perusing social media during breaks or when at home. Trust me, your feed will still be there at the end of the day.
Pro Tip: Even if your position involves social media, be sure to create separate personal and professional social media accounts if necessary, and only use the professional ones at work.
9. Avoid gossip
When you’re new it’s tempting to want to join into conversations to make friends, but office gossip will always come back to bite you. If you find yourself in the middle of a conversation about another co-worker, stay neutral about the person being discussed or change the subject.
Pro Tip: Whenever you can, remove yourself from negative situations altogether. You’ll attract less drama, stay on everyone’s good side, and show other co-workers and managers that you don’t approve of office politics.
10. Keep an open mind
Every company has their own culture, norms, processes and procedures, and quirks, so try to come in with an open mind and no expectations even if you’re used to doing things a certain way from a previous position. Keep in mind that adjusting to a new environment takes time and understanding and both sides; not all employees are immediately open to someone new mixing things up. Stay flexible and friendly, and you’ll transition into your new role in no time at all.
Pro Tip: You may feel out of your element in a new position. That’s natural! New experiences often feel uncomfortable. Just remember that the discomfort is only temporary. Within a few months, you’ll have a better handle on your role, responsibilities, and expectations.
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