Your first 100 days – making a great start, and settling into your new job

Image of a person holding a white card with '100' mapped out in photographs which are not clear

American presidents are given 100 days to demonstrate what they can do – at least what it seems like in the media! It’s important, no matter the role – to make a good impression in the first few months in a job, so here I want to give you some tips about getting started, be it a part-time job, an internship, placement or graduate job these tips will help you on your way.

Many companies will have a clear process already in place to get you up and running, but if not…in your first week, in addition to finding the kettle/loo/ID badge try to:

  • Introduce yourself positively – show your enthusiasm for the role/business etc. You are unlikely to remember everyone’s names or know what to ask at this early stage, so try repeating names when you are introduced, that can help you remember ‘Nice to meet you Tom, I’m Emma…’
  • If your manager has not planned introductions in with key people, ask them who would be the best to speak to in the first few weeks. Then ensure you get around those relevant people, remembering you may need to go back to people once you’ve got to know your way around what’s expected of you!
  • Buddy up with someone in the team, someone on the same level as you who can show around/take you to lunch.
  • Getting to know your manager is important, go for a coffee with them, understanding your and their place in the organisation will help with office politics.
  • Ask lots of questions – it’s the perfect time to ask questions as no one expects you to know anything yet.
  • Take notes – about everything! Even if you think you’ll remember, keep a list of questions for your catch up with your line manager, and be careful to prioritise what you need.

Adapting to a new role, work environment and/or routine can prove tiring, so get plenty of sleep and plan in some downtime in your days off.

Something that lots of graduates face is perceived imposter syndrome, i.e. the feeling you don’t belong/don’t deserve to be there. It’s totally normal to be nervous, and unsure in the early days. You are not an admin error.

Watch out for transition traps, these are the things you should NOT do when you start in a new role, here are my top 3:

  1. Sticking with what you know – overcome this by adopting a growth mindset, be open to new things, learn from your mistakes and seek feedback.
  2. Running before you can walk – it’s great to be keen, but take your time, the first few days are often about completing health and safety courses, getting permissions/admin right and making introductions, no one expects you to be on top of everything straight away!
  3. Solely building vertical relationships – making connections across your team (horizontally), in addition to senior managers (vertically) is important, you may have ambition to reach senior levels, but often you’ll need your peers to help you along the way.

Image of two head silhouette's facing one another. Left: Growth Mindset includes statements: "Failure is an opportunity to grow", "I can learn to do anything I want", "Challenges help me to grow", "My effort and attitude determine my abilities", "Feeback is constructive", "I am inspired by the success of others", "I like to try new things". Right hand head: Fixed Mindset "failure is the limit of my abilities", "I'm either good at it or I'm not", "my abilities are unchanging", "I don't like to be challenged", "I can either do it, or I can't", "My potential is [redetermined", "When I'm frustrated I give up" "Feedback and criticism are personal", "I stick to what I know".
Growth and fixed mindset
After a month in the job you’ll have started to build some key relationships, and have processes in place for managing your workload, diary etc. Have a planning meeting with your line manager to understand what is expected of you – and ideally have identify some ‘quick wins’ i.e. pieces of work you can deliver quickly, this will help build your confidence. Even though you are getting settled now, continue to ask questions all the time, never be afraid to ask about something you are unsure of.

By the end of your 100 days you’ll be getting in the swing of things with some ownership over projects, and have developed your relationships in your team and with stakeholders. Remember to continue to check in with your manager, a supportive manager should be a sounding board for ideas, they should be empathetic to the challenges you face and they should facilitate your development. Sometimes it takes a full cycle to get confident in a job, in teaching terms that’s an academic year, for you it could be a financial year, or it could be a shorter period.

If you want to have a conversation about any aspect of careers an employability don’t hesitate to check out the Careers webpages, or to book an appointment with one of our careers consultants via your MyJobsOnline account.