Getting Through Your First Weeks of Work

Many young professional career advice tips proffer suggestions on how to prepare for the interview, how to construct the perfectly executed resume, or how to get your personal brand on. In short, they talk about everything that you need to do before you step into the office for the first time.  Or, on the other hand, tips to carry you through the job as a whole–that is, what you should consider generally as you move along your chosen career trajectory.

But what about that first day you step into the office?  While career preparation is critical, the first few weeks of work are just as fraught with importance.  Here are a few things to remember.

1. Yes, first impressions still count just as much as they did in your parents’ day.

Even though you may have wowed some people during your interview, your most important first impression is what you accomplish when you first start.  While these considerations may seem self-evident, they cannot be stressed strongly enough:  Dress appropriately, show up on time, shake hands with everyone you meet, and smiley warmly and sincerely.

2. Ask questions.

Just as when you were in the hot seat for the interview, when you first begin work, asking questions is crucial. While the first day won’t be all that exciting in terms of work, since it’s more of an introduction to what you’ll be doing later, make sure to pay attention regardless.  If you aren’t very clear about specific tasks you’ll be assigned, do not be afraid to ask.  The more questions you ask, the better impression you’ll make and the easier your job overall will become

3. Attitude is the only true make-or-break.

Incidentally, this is true in all aspects of life.  The attitude that you bring on the very first day and sustain throughout the first few weeks will generally dictate your disposition in the workplace. If you come in with apprehensions, you will only be shooting yourself in the foot because this first mental impression will darken your outlook.  If, however, you arrive knowing that you were chosen for the job because you were the most capable candidate, and that you can, within reason, handle anything that is thrown your way with grace, then your job will be all the more doable. Attitude makes a world of a difference.

4. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

The first few weeks are an adjustment period, and your employers know this. You won’t do everything right the first time.  In fact, you may do something terribly wrong.  This is normal.  It’s how you handle mistakes that matters.  If you slip up, the best way to tackle mistakes is to admit them, accept them, and go back to tip 2–ask questions.  Ask what you can do to improve, and what you can do to avoid the same thing happening again. Remember–mistakes are learning experiences.  Nothing more, nothing less.

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities.  She welcomes your comments at:

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