Congratulations on getting your dream job! Stepping into a new role comes with its usual challenges — acclimating to company culture, meeting new teammates, learning your supervisor’s managerial style. But if your new gig is virtual, you may face an entirely new set of hurdles that makes it trickier to communicate with your colleagues and build rapport. Here, we’ll walk you through our tips on making a positive, lasting first impression during your first three months of a job, whether it’s in-person or remote.
1. Start Before Your Official First Day
While your official first day is when you’ll clock in and meet your team, take advantage of the preceding days to lay out the groundwork for a smooth transition. Are there any tools you can brush up on, or a list of clients and annual reports and company newsletters you can skim? Is there a requirement in the job description that you need to do a bit of research on? Ask the HR manager to see if they have any recommendations for how you can best prepare. If possible, get a headstart on filling out paperwork to cut back on time-consuming administrative tasks during your actual first day.
2. Set Up Your Home Office or Workspace
If you’ll be working from home, now’s the time to clean up your home office — or give it a makeover to set a fresh tone for this new and exciting chapter of your career. Whether you tie your room together with a well-chosen mid-century modern desk and chair, add flair to the walls with removable wallpaper, or give your corners a bit of green zazz with a houseplant, sprucing up your workspace can clear your mind and show your new teammates a slice of who you are. You can check out our take on the top home office design trends here.
3. Create a Running List of Goals and Intentions
Whether it’s a Google Doc or a Moleskine notebook, it’s never a bad idea to have a dedicated space to create goals and note professional milestones. Before your first day, think about your big-picture objectives and jot them down. Why did you leave your previous role — and what are you hoping to gain from this one? Where do you see yourself in a year? What unique company resources do you want to take advantage of, and what skill sets do you want to hone? You can keep your thoughts vague to start. After your first two-to-three weeks, you’ll have a much better idea of what your three-month plan will look like, so set a reminder on your calendar to revisit your goals and share them with your manager.
4. Show You’re a Good Fit
Remember — the first 90 days of employment are often thought of as an extension of your job interview. During these three months, you’ll want to demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the role and organization at large. Be sure to avoid common mistakes and instead show your professionalism by doing the following:
- Ask questions and clarify expectations
- Respond to emails/messages in a timely manner
- Show interest in getting to know other team members
- Focus on the benefits of working with your company rather than your role in it
5. Be Proactive — But Let Your Manager Take the Lead
Being proactive is a fantastic trait that can put you on track to a leadership position, but it’s best to let your manager take the lead during the first few weeks of your new role. You can take the initiative in other ways: solicit feedback and constructive criticism, schedule a quarterly check-in with your supervisor to discuss your progress, and find out which company all-stars you should meet with to get a more holistic understanding of other departments. Before you outline your plans for the role, ask your manager what their vision is for you, and how you can work together to get you there.
6. Set Healthy Professional Boundaries
Even though you may feel the need to prove your value by working late hours or showing up first, setting healthy boundaries begins during your first week on the job. While you should certainly adhere to standard office etiquette — promptly replying to emails, showing up at all meetings on time, and following best practices — going out of your way can be unnecessary and lead to burnout. Don’t feel pressured to respond to emails on the weekend or stay two hours later than everyone else — it’s often not expected of you, and sets a bad precedent that will throw your work-life balance out of whack.
7. Be Social and Participate in Office Activities
Do your best to join your company’s virtual happy hours, game nights, or other events to get to know your team — and members of other departments — on a personal level. If you prefer a one-on-one conversation, reach out to different colleagues and schedule a coffee hangout or lunch over Zoom. You might experience a bit of social fatigue during month one, but it’s worth it — in the age of remote employment, getting to know your coworkers requires extra upfront effort.