How to Hit a Home Run on Opening Day

Businessman-with-bat-TRACEY WILEN3 tips to ensure your first day on the job is a hit

Look like a winner.

  • First impressions are important. Every job has a uniform or the clothes that you wear to work.
  • If you don’t know the dress code, err on the side of conservative dress. It is better to dress two levels above your position then two levels below. You can always change to something more casual once you have made an impression and have gotten to know what is expected. If you really don’t know, call HR or your new hiring manager and ask.
  • There might be exceptions such as high tech or the entertainment industry where the standard dress code is casual. Even then, understand what casual means. Is it jeans and hoodie or kakis with a button down shirt?
  • Body art and jewelry can be controversial for many individuals. If you don’t know, don’t wear the body jewelry and don’t show the art until you know. Your goal is to stand out in a positive way, not a negative way. Many people have past associations with tattoos and piercings that might work against you.

Meet the coaches and your team.

  • On your first day/week it is try to meet the key managers who you will be working or interfacing with and your team mates. It is important that you create a network of people who can rely on your as a part of the team and, you can establish who to go to with questions and support.
  • Your hiring manager is your key point of contact, but this person may not be free to guide you day to day so it is important that you create your own support system. Ask your manager for a list of people that s/he recommends that you meet to help you understand the firm and get your job done. This way you show your manager from the start that you are part of the team and you desire to do well.
  • If your job permits, set up ½ hour phone calls or individual meetings with individuals to learn about what they do. These are information sessions. Just listen and find out how they fit into the organization, what they do, and how you and they will work together. Organizations can be complex with a lot of players and moving parts. It important that you spend your first few weeks understanding the field you are playing on so you know the right and wrong moves. 

Don’t check swing.

  • Don’t over promise what you can do, rather listen and position for opportunities where you can influence your new environment and team towards success.
  • The first few weeks in any job is very tough. “You may have come from a very different past work environment where things were done in a certain way. Now you need to learn how to work in a new organization that does things very differently. If, for example, you were hired because of your extensive experience from a previous firm, people might value what you have to say.” says Gary Daugenti of Gent & Associates recruiting firm.
  • If you see differences from your past work that can help in your new environment, be tactful in your approach. It is wise to assess if the new culture will be receptive to ideas or can achieve them. Many times they cannot and individuals might look at your ideas as negative comparisons that your past job was better than your new job.
  • Don’t commit to taking on a new project until you fully understand if the project can be achieved in the workplace. For example, you might see an opportunity to bring a global team together by holding weekly meetings, but the firm has not implemented the collaboration technology to achieve these goals. Good idea but not achievable in the current environment.

With these few tips you can ensure that you don’t strike out or get picked off on your first day at work.

Go get them, slugger.


Originally published on the Huffington Post

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Tracey Wilen

Tracey Wilen

Dr. Tracey Wilen is a prominent thought leader on the impact of technology on society, work and careers. She’s been a scholar at Stanford University and has held leadership positions at Apple, HP, Cisco, and the Apollo Group. Dr. Wilen has authored 11 books including Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders (2013); Society 3.0: How Technology Is Reshaping Education, Work, and Society (2012); Employed for Life; 21st Century Career Trends (2014).She has appeared on CNN, Fox and CBS news, in The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. She frequently contributes to The Huffington Post, the Examiner, and the Christian Science Monitor and is on radio shows across the US weekly as an expert guest. She is a global speaker on the impact of technology on work careers, and women’s leadership. She was honored by the San Francisco Business Times as a 2012 Most Influential Woman in Bay Area Business.

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