Top 3 Things to Do Your First Week on the Job

If you find yourself starting a new job soon, congratulations! You have successfully navigated through the ATS bots, HR screens, multiple rounds of interviews and background checks to make it to where you are today.  Forbes estimates that an average of 118 people apply to each job posted and you triumphed over all of them.  Let’s take a brief moment to celebrate that.

Alright, now what.

In a Gallup poll, 88% of new hires indicated that their company did a poor job of onboarding. 

Your first week will likely be filled with HR orientation, onboarding, and paperwork.  It can be disorienting to make heads or tails of any organization at that point. You’re probably experiencing a rollercoaster of information overload and lengthy periods of downtime.

If you are starting in a new position and find your day a little vacant, I recommend you complete these three things in your first week while you are still new to better support yourself in the future. Future you will be so grateful.

Finish Your HR Training

This one may be a no brainer to some, and you very well could be forced into it by their organization, but I have seen people take their time on mandatory trainings when they start.  If your company has an automated training system, you will likely have 60 days to complete a lot of this mandatory training, but I recommend cranking it out now.  You will most likely have downtime, and some of these training courses can be quite extensive. 

Once you actually understand what your job is and you’re in 5+ meetings a day, are you really going to want to carve out two hours for sexual harassment (er, sensitivity in the workplace) training?  Probably not.  Do it now while your calendar is a barren wasteland.

Update Your Resume

Yes, now.

I know, I know. You just got done with an extensive job search and the last thing you want to do is revisit that resume you probably have ten versions of because, again, you wanted to beat those ATS bots and ensure you had those keywords were present.  However, now is a great time to add one more version to the repository.

You have no achievements to include here at this point, and I get that.  What I recommend is to add the basics (new company, title, date started) and take some of the key pieces of the job description you applied to and add them in as a placeholder.

If you don’t have your job description, there are a few ways to get it.  Firstly, your job may still be posted on your company’s career site.  If so, easy peasy, there you go.  If it’s not, it is very possible that it’s still lingering out there somewhere online.  There are many job posting aggregators that take jobs from other sites and repost them, only to leave them up for much longer than your new company has it up on their site. So I would recommend a Google search to see if it’s still floating out there. A third option, if you are so bold, is to reach out to your HR contact and ask for a copy of it to reference.  They should be accommodating on this request.

The reason I recommend updating your resume in your first week is because you have time right now and further down the road when you contemplate leaving, the thought of revisiting your resume and updating it can be daunting.  You may have reached the point of burnout at this stage and having to start a resume update from scratch with nothing to reference can be a huge impediment to starting your search.  Give future you a leg up and have some of the groundwork already done.

Conduct a Job Description Reconciliation

At the end of your first week, take that same job description and do an inventory of the items you’ve been trained on, have questions about, or haven’t witnessed at all yet.  Cross out items you have a good handle at that point (if any, it’s your first week), highlight areas that haven’t been discussed or you’re unclear on, and make note of tools referenced that you don’t have access to.

Use this reconcile in the coming weeks and continually do a check in with yourself on what you have learned versus what you have yet to see.  Is there a tool listed that you don’t even have access to? Is there a process that hasn’t come up yet?  Start noting these questions and discuss with your manager in your next sync up.

As a warning, some job descriptions are built on templates or kept in an HR repository and dusted off after years of sitting idle. You may find that the description does not align with your actual day to day. This can be an eye opener as well, that the job you applied to is not the one you were hired for, and something you should contemplate when thinking of your longevity with this organization.

Bonus Points

There are a number of other great things you can do to support yourself in your new job.  One thing I recommend as you start to attend meetings in your new company, is to conduct your own meeting assessment that I posted a couple weeks ago.  This assessment is table that includes an array of basic elements for meetings, and it can help you connect the dots as you ramp up (who participates in these calls, how many recurring meetings are there, does everyone share from the same system, do people send out notes, etc). Use this information to see the patterns and aid you when the time comes for you to start hosting calls.


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