Landing a new job is hard enough and there is certainly no lack of valuable resources to help you successfully through the process of readying your resume, having a great interview and negotiating for a perfect opportunity, but your efforts don’t end when you open up that shiny offer letter and sign on the dotted line. If you want to make it through the first few months and plan to remain with your new employer for the long term, you will need to continue to put forth your best efforts days, weeks, months and in some cases even years after your start date.
Respect On-Boarding Steps and Complete Them Promptly
After accepting an offer and as part of the on-boarding process, you will often be asked to complete additional steps such as to fill out a profile through a company’s online portal, to sign and return an offer letter and background check authorization form via fax or email (or sometimes even in person), to present proof of previous compensation, or to complete a drug screening. Any required steps should be outlined in your offer letter/package, or presented to you directly by the manager or the recruiter you are working with.
You should carefully review all required steps, complete them all promptly—if possible, immediately—and inform the proper party (e.g. hiring manager, HR representative, recruiter) once everything is finished; your courtesy will be appreciated, will show that you are committed and excited to join the new company, and will demonstrate professionalism. It will not look good if a hiring manager (or your recruiter, on their behalf) has to chase you down for these items before you even start the new job.
Respect the Dress Code
When a dress code is stated as business formal, there is little room for error. A business suit/suit and tie is typically required daily. “Business casual,” on the other hand, is not always a universal term. Some companies allow jeans and sneakers in their business casual environments while others do not. During your interviewing process, be sure to observe the way employees present themselves. If the dress code is stated as business casual, take note of various aspects of appearance. Are shirts tucked in? Are shoes open-toed? What can you see as far as jewelry and makeup? Try to take note of these things and follow suit—pun intended. And remember, although you may have met the team in person during an interview and have already made a great first impression, it won’t kill you to wear a sharp business suit, a blazer or even a crisp tie on your first day to show that you’ve come to play ball.
Respect Business Hours
From day one (and especially on day one), be sure to show punctuality. When you first start a new job, you have gone from having to make strong impression as a prospective employee to having to make a strong impression as a new hire. Your boss will not be impressed if you stroll into the office late, and a new hire’s tardiness may even embarrass him/her in front of other colleagues.
Once you have established yourself, do not fall into a habit of arriving five minutes late every day even if your employer has a policy allowing a few minutes of grace time to clock in each day. If you are lucky enough to work remotely, be online on time. You need to show that you want to be there, and you certainly don’t want to give the impression that you can’t be bothered to show up on time. If possible, try to arrive 5-10 minutes early each day. It will show reliability and that you are looking to get a head start on your work.
On the same note, don’t rush to head out the door the moment the clock strikes five. “First to arrive, last to leave” is not just a figure of speech. Even if you are never confronted about it, managers do take note of who truly wants to be there and who is waiting for the minutes to tick down.
Respect Your Objectives and Deadlines (and speak up if there is an issue)
The first three to six months of a new job are crucial. It is during this time that managers will be evaluating whether hiring you was the right move. Are you meshing with the team? Are you able to complete your assignments and meet deadlines? Do you communicate well with your colleagues and managers? Are you detail-oriented? How well do you represent the company to its customers, business leaders and competitors? If you cannot truly answer positively to these types of questions, it might be a good idea to sit down with your supervisor and discuss areas where you can improve.
Do not be afraid of initiating a meeting of this nature; your manager will appreciate your consciousness of the situation and will likely work with you to improve. Managers want their teams to succeed, and an underperforming employee can sometimes reflect poorly on management and direction so your supervisor will often be eager to help in pinpointing and solving any problems you may be having.
On the other hand, if you are finding that you are able to complete your objectives with ease and well ahead of schedule, you may want to speak with your manager about other areas where you can contribute. Perhaps other team members are struggling and you can help with their projects or serve as a mentor (new employees may not have company seniority but that does not always mean they are to be considered junior team members), or maybe there are other objectives that can be tackled early. It is important to take the initiative in these situations because you want to be viewed as a go-getter who is eager to grow and advance within the company rather than being seen as not being challenged. You do not want your manager worried that you may be looking to jump ship for another opportunity.
The key is to always keep the lines of communication with your manager open, no matter the situation.
Respect Your Employer’s Digital Presence
Once you proudly update your professional network and social media profiles with your new employer and job title, be sure to keep the company’s image squeaky clean. This applies from the time immediately after hire to the days, months and years after your start date. You are certainly entitled to your own opinions, but your employer will not be amused if one of their colleagues asks them why their employee is regularly posting updates of volatile, vulgarity/slur-filled debates or why they would hire someone whose picture depicts them taking tequila shots. If you have access to a company Twitter account, blog or other related media, use sensibility; we’re all familiar with what can come from embarrassing an employer with social media faux pas (and if you aren’t, get familiar with high and low profile cases so you know what to avoid), and no one wants to be that person.
Poor digital decisions that implicate your employer are not always glaringly obvious; when in doubt, don’t do it. The Internet is an unforgiving place, so do not ever create any reason for your employer to be in a negative spotlight.
What other things can you and should you do after landing a new job to ensure that you keep it?
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