How to hit the ground running in your new job

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You impressed at interview, played things perfectly during negotiations and have numerous ideas for making your mark. But it's only now that you’re about to start your new job that the real hard work begins. So how do you hit the ground running and prove to your boss that they made the right decision?

Get a head start

Familiarising yourself with the company, the people and the building in which you're going to be based is an excellent way to help you understand how things operate. From team structures to HR protocol to the latest client wins, getting a handle on the finer details - as well as the wider context of your new role - will save time and energy in the long run.

Many companies put new starters through an induction of some description, but the process often covers little more than where the fire escapes are and how to book annual leave. Ask your boss to facilitate your orientation ahead of your start date by sending documents that will be helpful, such as company structure.

Also suggest they get your predecessor to compile notes and 'how to' guides, as well as organise a comprehensive handover for your first week. Not only will seizing the initiative help you hit the ground running, it will also earn you points for being keen and willing.

Brush up on jargon and acronyms while you're at it.

Keep clear records

Your first week - make that your first month - will be a whirlwind of newness. Even if you're good with names and faces, be sure to keep a note of who you met where and what their role is within the business. This will help you piece the jigsaw together and ascertain who can help with what far quicker.

If you're doing lots of networking, or meeting people outside the business, jot down all of the above on their business cards as soon as you get a moment to yourself.

And don't forget the little people: Clerical assistants, PAs and reception staff are all good to know, especially when you find yourself stuck for answers.

Questions and suggestions

See your newness as a strength and others will follow suit. Instead of being reluctant to ask questions for fear of looking inept or under-researched, see your new team as a valuable resource and take the opportunity to learn as much as you can from them.

If something seems inefficient, lacks logic or could be improved upon, speak up while you can still see it all clearly with fresh eyes. Many companies and employees have been working a certain way for such a long time that bad habits and inefficiencies have become deeply ingrained and no one notices any more.

Make suggestions for improvements and back them up with workable solutions, or give examples of successful changes you made in former roles. But remember to strike the right balance between diplomacy and assertiveness - gaining people's trust is important for achieving results, but you need to come across as across as knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic rather than over-confident.

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