8 Things to Do During Your First Week on the New Job to Set Yourself up for Success

New employee being introduced to a group of clapping coworkers in a conference room meeting

Your first week at a new job can do a lot to set the tone for the rest of your tenure at your new employer, and it can certainly influence the way you’re received and perceived by your new team members.

Of course, everyone wants to start a new job off on the right foot, so to speak, but sometimes the little things that can make a big difference that first week can get lost amid a flurry of meetings, understanding, new tasks and projects, onboarding, catching up, and in general just getting yourself set up in your new space.

Before your first day, think about what you want to project that first week and also what you want to accomplish -- not just professionally, but with your interpersonal relationships as well, which often can be just as valuable as your workload itself.

Here are some things to consider doing that first week to start things off right:

Go to lunch with someone

Listen up, introverts. This is the week to push yourself out of your comfort zone and make an effort to get to know your new colleagues. Whether it’s going to lunch or meeting for happy hour after work, find some time to socialize with a few people outside of your office or desk. Establishing good working relationships is crucial, and, just like in your personal life, these are bonds that require time, effort, and energy. Make this a priority, and it’s sure to pay off down the line.

Come early and leave late

Perhaps more importantly, don’t arrive late and don’t leave early. Even if your workload isn’t that full yet, put in a full day’s work that first week. Appearances really matter here, and if you come across as disinterested or disengaged by ducking out early every day, your coworkers and boss will very likely take notice (and probably draw some unflattering conclusions about your work ethic and dedication to the role).

Perfect your elevator “bio”

When you start a new job, you are the “new kid in class.” As such, everyone is going to be asking you (probably the same kind of) questions throughout the week as you get to know your new colleagues. Expect to hear things like: “What do you do?”, “Where are you from?”, “How’s your first week going?”, “How are you settling in?”, or "What’s your background?”. Get comfortable spending 20 or 30 seconds summing up the most important parts of your bio -- a kind of “elevator pitch” but for a new job -- and also be ready to ask a few interesting questions in return.

Make it a point to remember names

This can take a while, longer than a week depending on the size of your department or organization, but making it a point to remember as many names as possible shows your new coworkers that you’re making an effort. It’s a subtle, yet significant, sign of respect that you’re ready to collaborate and that you are prioritizing building those interoffice connections.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Be a sponge that first week -- take in as much information as you can, but also get help when you need it. Don’t be shy about asking questions, no matter how basic you may think they sound. It’s better to get the questions out of the way than persist for weeks on end without really knowing what’s going on. Plus, your coworkers and boss expect questions, so it would likely be odd if you didn’t have any.

Have an end-of-the-week check-in with your boss

The first week at a new job is a kind of a whirlwind. Make it a point to have a check-in with your leadership or management -- even if it’s just for a few minutes -- at the end of the week to ask any questions that have come up, clarify anything that is confusing, or to make sure you’re on the right track for the coming weeks.

Don’t talk about your old job too much

It may still be fresh in your mind, especially if you didn’t have much time between the exit date at your old job and your new start date. But it’s a bit like being on a new date and spending the whole time talking about an ex… a little insight into your past and where you came from is fine and gives context, but too much makes your coworkers uncomfortable, especially if you’re still complaining and stuck in the “drama” of your old workplace.

Say thank you

Onboarding a new team member is just that, a team effort. During your first week, you’ll likely receive assistance from other departments or colleagues for things like getting set up with your workplace technology or getting signed in to certain tools you’ll be using. First impressions matter, so be sure these initial interactions with your new colleagues -- especially the ones who are helping you get situated -- are positive.

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