10 tips to navigate your first 10 weeks at a new job

woman smiling at work with colleagues in the background

After acing the interview, keep your momentum going with these top tips to navigate your first few weeks in a new role.

A new job can be like the first day of school all over again, with the pressure to perform well mixed with the need to understand the unspoken do’s and the don’ts.

Here are ten tips to help you navigate your first few weeks in a new role.

  1. Know the company and the context
    Make sure you’re up-to-date with what's going on in your new company. Visit the company's website, read their recent press releases and newsletters, and follow their social media channels. Review your competitors' literature and online presence too, to get a better handle on the bigger picture and the market context. All of this will help you add value in meetings.
  2. Be a (company) culture vulture
    Take time in your first few weeks to learn about the company culture. What hours do most people work? Do people talk much or are they focused like a laser on their work? Do they drink a lot of tea? Do most people eat their lunch ‘Al Desko’? Once you have a feel for your new company’s culture, you’ll feel more like a part of the team.
  3. Understand your new boss
    From day one, it’s important for you to understand your manager’s communication style. Work out how they like to get things done. Are they interested in the detail or do they prefer a summary? Be proactive and seek out a meeting with your new manager and senior stakeholders to discuss how they like to work – and then adapt how you work if necessary.
  4. Dress the part
    Take care to present yourself professionally, dressing tastefully and slightly above what’s required in the dress code. Always better to err on the side of caution.
  5. Keep on learning
    Take a step back and try to empathise with your manager’s and your colleagues’ situation — integrating a new hire can be just as challenging for them. Being proactive and accommodating in this way can help make the transition period easier for everyone, and demonstrate that you’re willing to learn and adapt.
  6. Take notes
    You'll be given a great deal of information in your first few weeks. You won’t be able to remember it all, so write down the key names, processes and contact numbers so can refer to your notes when you need them.
  7. Make an effort to know your colleagues
    You’ll be spending a lot of time with them, and they’re the people who can help you find your way when you get lost – both in terms of process, and on your way to the stationery cupboard. They can even give you a heads-up on the things that matter most to your manager, or their managerial style. Once you establish the foundation for a relationship, you’ll find that trust and information will follow.
  8. Be positive and proactive
    Bring solutions to the table, not problems. As you finish assignments and are ready to handle more projects, ask for more – and, if you feel you’re ready for it, more responsibility. Ask particularly for projects that have management support and buy-in from your team.
  9. Fools rush in
    You might think you have a better way of doing things – but you may be alone in thinking that. Find out whether your suggestions might have been made before. If they have and they didn’t work, why was that?
  10. Be flexible
    You’re not the only person who has ever started a new job. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you forget some of the mountains of information that came your way in your first few weeks. Everyone has been in your position before, so embrace the change, know your strengths and your limitations, and be willing to be flexible.