You’re starting a brand new job, and you have one thousand different questions swimming around in your brain.
Will your co-workers like you? Will you like the job? How will you remember everybody’s name? Who are you going to eat lunch with? What if you can’t find the bathroom? Or, worse, what if you get to the bathroom but then can’t find your way back?
Those worries are enough to make anybody short of breath. But then there’s that one other looming question that carries more weight than all of those combined: How will you get your new boss to like you?
Step one is arriving on time for your first day, of course. However, beyond the basics, there are a few other tactics you can put into play to impress your manager and make sure you start that relationship off on the right foot.
1. Make Your Own Connections
Your first few days with a new employer are usually enough to make you feel like the obnoxious little sister. You don’t know much yet, so you’re either relegated to sitting alone at your desk (with nothing to do, no less) or tagging along and metaphorically pulling on the sleeve of your boss.
Your supervisor is busy — and, as much as that company is willing to invest in getting you up to speed, you shouldn’t have to rely on your manager to forge relationships for you. There’s nothing wrong with showing some initiative and making an attempt to branch out on your own.
Strike up some conversations with the people you’ll be collaborating closely with. Or, ask if you can find out more about a project that they’re currently working on or if you can tag along to that meeting.
Even if you don’t understand every detail of what’s being discussed, it’s still a great way to familiarize yourself with your team’s recent happenings while also establishing some bonds.
2. Take Notes (Yes, Seriously)
This much you know: Starting a new job means you’re going to have a ton of information thrown your way. From logins and company processes to names and what fridge shelf you should set your lunch on, there’s a lot of stuff that needs to stick in your brain.
This can be overwhelming. So, the smartest thing you can do during those first couple of weeks is to take notes. Yes, seriously — write everything down.
By documenting everything from how to access that company software to what extension you should call when you’re having computer trouble, you’ll have all of that need-to-know information at your fingertips when you inevitably need it again.
This means you won’t have to pester your boss with those questions that you should be able to answer yourself — which makes you look like you’re completely on top of everything (because, honestly, you are!).
3. Ask Smart Questions
Even when you make your best effort to absorb every last word that your boss or new colleagues say, you’re still bound to have a lot of questions. It’s to be expected.
However, the most impressive new employees take the time and invest the elbow grease to try to answer their own questions before approaching someone else.
When you feel unclear about something, make sure you tap into the resources you have at your disposal. Flip through the company handbook or those notes you’ve been diligently taking, for example. Or, use your keen observational skills to see how the people around you are handling similar situations.
This isn’t to say that you’ll never have to approach your boss with a question. But, if and when you do need to knock on his or her door? At least you’ll have as much prior knowledge under your belt as possible.
4. Show Initiative
Your first few days at a new job can be pretty boring. There’s an avalanche of paperwork and that other general housekeeping stuff you need to take care of before you can really start to settle in.
In many cases, this means you’re also bound to have quite a bit of downtime. In those moments when you’re staring at a blank computer screen or color coding your paper clips for the eighth time? Ask your boss if there’s anything you could help with or get started on.
Maybe you’ll get to sink your teeth into a real, job-related project right away. Or, perhaps you’ll end up alphabetizing your boss’s stack of business cards. Either way, taking that initiative is a surefire way to prove that you’re eager to demonstrate your value (and that you’re not always above the grunt work!).
5. Follow Through
Dependability is a quality that nearly every employer looks for — and there’s no better time to prove that you’re reliable than when you’re brand new.
If you need to have that paperwork turned in by a certain deadline? Make sure you hand it in early. If there’s a meeting you’re asked to participate in? Show up prepared.
These things seem painfully simple. But proving that you’re dependable doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s failing to meet (or exceed!) expectations with those seemingly little things that can harm your reputation and your relationship with your boss.
Put these five tips to work during your first days (and through the rest of your employment!), and you’re sure to prove that you were a deserving hire.