Whilst there are often many people offering tips for starting a new job as a graduate, few focus on the essentials that you need to know when you’re entering a new workplace—you’ve got this far, so you don’t really need to know what to wear on the first day of work.
Interviewers make a hiring decision within the first 10 minutes of a meeting, so you’ve already proven that you’re someone they could see as a colleague—and this should certainly give you confidence in the workplace. However, you can do a couple of things to make a positive impact, proving that your new managers know they’ve made the right choice.
Our guide to the top tips for starting a new job will focus on how you can find confidence in the workplace, the importance of celebrating success at work for mitigating burnout and stress, and how you can observe the dynamics and culture when you’re starting a new job to better understand how to ask questions, seek feedback, and discover a mentor that can help you to realise your potential.
Our Consultants’ Top Tips for Starting a New Job
Before we get into our list of the top tips for starting a new job, it’s important to reflect on how far you’ve come.
Celebrating success at work is crucial for morale and motivation, so take a moment to remember that this company has hired you because they believe you’re the right person for the role. Don’t be afraid to showcase your authentic self—you’ll feel more at ease and help your coworkers to get to know you better.
Without further ado, here are the best suggestions from our expert consultants to keep in mind on that all-important first day at a new job:
Observe workplace dynamics. The first day at a new job is a great opportunity to pay attention to how colleagues communicate, interact, and work together. Understanding the office's “unwritten rules” and the internal culture can make the onboarding process much smoother, helping you ask your colleagues questions and potentially discover a mentor who will take you under their wing and show you the ropes.
And why is mentorship important in the workplace? Starting a new job can, of course, be fraught with enough stress before you’ve even considered progression opportunities, but you’ve started this role to no doubt enhance your career. As a result, it’s important to recognise how significant a mentor can be for your upward mobility, with 87% of mentors and mentees in the professional environment highlighting that a robust relationship founded on learning and development has empowered them to make positive shifts in their careers.
Before your first day at a new job, take some time to reflect on the current stage in your career- whether you're a recent graduate or someone who completed your studies a few years ago- and your ambitions. This will allow you to identify areas you'd like to work on and improve.
Observing the dynamics of your new environment will give you an opportunity to find out who would be open to this kind of professional relationship, and how to reach out to them- whether that's a Teams message, a more formal e-mail, or a casual chat on a break.
Show your excitement and enthusiasm. A warm, friendly smile and a can-do attitude can go a long way, ensuring your new colleagues know you’re approachable and helpful. By communicating with your co-workers that you’re free to help them—and it’s likely you will be, given that onboarding processes can be slow on the first day at a new job—you can highlight yourself as a dependable and proactive colleague, earning additional responsibility and forging robust professional relationships right off the bat. Similarly, if your colleagues have a win, it’s important to celebrate success at work early—congratulate them, even if you’ve only just met them, since it can be the start of a strong relationship.
But why is this important? In the world of sales, these relationships can often be the foundation on which your expertise is built: connections with your managers, coworkers, and organisational leaders help you to feel more engaged in your work and increase your performance—and can even earn you more money, especially if you’re working a role where you’ll be paid commission. Salespeople who are happier at work are 13% more productive than their colleagues who report low mood and are 77% less likely to feel unimportant.
Despite these statistics, only 5% of employees report that their organisation helps them to build strong and lasting professional relationships with their peers—by putting yourself out there as an enthusiastic and happy employee, you could seed the change you want to see and even enhance your colleagues’ performance at the same time as your own.
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to check with your colleagues if you need clarification on anything you’ve been asked to do—it’ll show that you’re eager to learn and take the role seriously. Asking questions is vital to learning your way when you’re starting a new job, especially in a sales environment, where it’s likely to be fast-paced.
You’ll be able to discover the long-term ambitions and goals of the business, as well as any current roadblocks standing in the way of organisational success. Whilst you may have been privy to these in the interview—especially if you asked the right questions—you now have an opportunity to effect practical change and begin addressing those concerns.
At the same time, asking questions can be a great way to begin building your personal brand, showing that you have the emotional intelligence, empathy, and collaborative attitude to reflect on bigger issues that may impact several members of your team, or even the entire organisation, and figure out a way past them. This can be an excellent technique for building confidence in the workplace, allowing you to demonstrate your current expertise and build rapport with your colleagues by showing a genuine interest in their needs.
The good news is that if you’re in a sales-focused role, asking questions of your colleagues and leaders is not only expected, but encouraged: asking questions and knowing how to communicate in an open-ended way with your clients is one of the most crucial competencies for a salesperson to develop, so highlighting this ability is one of our paramount tips for starting a new job. By practising from your very first day at a new job, you’ll be able to begin uncovering your buyers’ needs and desires, and understand how providing solutions is vital to any selling role.
Remain patient. HR professionals and line managers agree that an efficient and effective onboarding process will likely last around three months. Your first one or two days will likely focus on orientation and becoming acquainted with the software, policies, and procedures you’ll need to complete your tasks, so don’t rush too far ahead. Instead, one of our top tips for starting a new job is to be patient and strategic: start thinking about the needs of your customers and colleagues, and position yourself for long-term success by making plans to follow up on anything you can’t immediately do.
Sales roles are often all about patience—and a certain level of assertiveness—since you’ll have multiple touch-points with a qualified lead before they opt to buy your product or service. Instead of going for the quick close, you can differentiate yourself from your competitors by understanding clients’ concerns and their need to go away and consider your solution's value to their business. The average sale will take around 8 touchpoints to close, but this can rise even higher for a prospect you’re approaching through cold outreach.
As a result, practising patience on your first day at a new job can set you in good stead for the next stage of your role, where you’ll be expected to begin generating revenue. Focus on providing the value you can at this stage in the process, and ensure that you’ve determined the ideal time to ask questions proving to your supervisors that you’re ready to hit the ground running.
Know the numbers. Sales is a results-driven world, so spend some time learning about the KPIs and metrics your supervisors and the organisation’s leaders will track, allowing you to focus on practical steps to constantly improve your performance. When it comes to tips for starting a new job, this is another one that we often find is overlooked, but can make or break that first day, week, or month in the position.
There are likely to be several metrics that are being tracked as part of your role, including sales performance and average deal size, progress toward specific milestones in the form of Agile sprint-related KPIs, sales cycle length, and, for certain roles, churn rate—or the percentage of key accounts who do not renew subscriptions.
By knowing what to track and when, you can avoid overloading yourself with information that is largely irrelevant to your current position on the first day at a new job, slowing down or otherwise impeding your ability to perform effectively. Understanding what your strengths and weaknesses will be gauged on can give you confidence in the workplace, helping you work with your supervisors or colleagues who have taken the position of a mentor, and providing actionable, pragmatic objectives to focus on and hit.
By following these tips for starting a new job, you can let your confidence in the workplace, strengths, and skills speak for themselves. Your new colleagues will appreciate your approach to your role, and managers will appreciate your professionalism and ability to collaborate with others on your team.
If you’re interested in learning more tips for starting a new job, see our recent guide to Working in Telesales: What You Need to Know for a deep dive into the skills and competencies that you can develop and the kind of training you’ll receive, preparing you in advance for your first day at a new job and giving you that all-important confidence in the workplace you’ll need to make a positive impact.
The Importance of Confidence in the Workplace
Looking beyond your first day to consider how you can advance in your career, it’s likely that you’ll need to build in-depth knowledge of and confidence in the workplace. Engaging with different colleagues and departments, building robust professional relationships, and continuing professional development will require you to believe in your abilities and adaptability.
Still, it all begins with that first day at a new job—and there are several techniques you can use to build this capacity for confidence in the workplace:
Research and understand your role. Well before you step foot in the office, make sure to look back over the job description and any notes you made in the interview, which will help you to understand the key duties that will be expected of you. This is one of those crucial tips for starting a new job that can often be forgotten, but lets you avoid any confusion and helps you enter the building feeling confident and ready to make an impact. Research is crucial for sales roles, where you’ll be expected to know and empathise with the pain points that your clients are experiencing, so it’s best to flex the same muscles you used to complete your degree and study the company you’ll be working for in depth.
Be kind, courteous, and friendly with everyone you meet. From the moment you walk into the building, ensure you’re a welcoming and engaging colleague to all employees. By building positive relationships from the start, you’ll contribute to a harmonious work environment and encourage people to think of you as someone they want to work with—at the end of the day, you’re building a professional and, hopefully, long-lasting relationship with these people which will see you all achieve success.
Accept that it’s okay to be nervous. This is especially true if this is your first sales role, where it’s entirely normal to feel some anxiety. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes, and always bear in mind that everyone you interact with felt this way on their first day at a new job, too. Sales jobs come with pressure to hit targets, so acknowledging this can help you to focus on the tasks you need to complete to achieve your goals for that day—and it’ll also be a good exercise in managing expectations and setting clear objectives that can maximise your ability to build rapport with qualified leads and close deals.
Acknowledge your hard work. Celebrating success at work is all about recognising the small, incremental wins you achieve each day, from completing a part of a project to a positive interaction with a colleague. By reminding yourself of these wins, you’ll build workplace confidence and head off any imposter syndrome or burnout. Celebrating success at work can help you feel that each day has been valuable and purposeful.
Remember that building confidence in the workplace is a continuous process. It’s going to take some time to adjust to your new role, but as time goes on, you’ll realise that you’ve taken a huge step towards enhancing your career, so make sure you get off to the right start to feel more at ease within your role and open up opportunities for career advancement.
As you embark on this next step in your career, understanding and implementing these effective tips for starting a new job is crucial. By paying attention to the key elements that lead to success in a sales-driven environment, you can nurture your confidence in the workplace. This is especially true on the first day at a new job, where you might wonder how to make a positive impression and set the stage for your long-term success.
Moreover, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of celebrating success at work. This practice not only helps to boost your morale, but can be an important way of enhancing your team’s cohesion and collaborative ability. Our tips for starting a new job have explored how you can mitigate burnout, but realistically, this is one of the most effective ways of staying motivated and engaged in your role, helping you to progress your career with this organisation.
Remember, your new role is more than just a payslip—it’s an opportunity to grow and develop personally and professionally. By following these essential tips for starting a new job, you’ll be able to confidently navigate the workplace and dynamics of the office, fostering valuable relationships and opening doors to future advancements. So, in short, embrace these strategies, trust in your abilities, and take your first steps toward a promising and rewarding journey with your new employer.
Get Your First Day at a New Job Off to a Good Start with Pareto
At Pareto, we’ve been supporting early-career professionals to get off to the right start for over 25 years. Our consultants are experts in guiding candidates through the application, interview, training and onboarding process, so don’t hesitate to contact us for personalised advice and assistance.