How to survive the first 100 days in a job

Tips on preparing yourself for the start of a new job; making the most of the induction process and leaving a great first impression.

Young professionals Prepare yourself

Do your homework on the company by checking out relevant information sources such as the corporate website, company reports, industry and trade publications and online resources. Include social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube where the company could well have a presence.

Many organisations post ‘day in the life’ or ‘what it's like to work here’ videos, which can give an insight into real-life at the company and its culture.

Minimise distractions in the first week so you can focus on the job: decide what you are wearing on the first day if not the entire week; plan your commute and factor in extra time just in case and avoid booking lots of social events in the first week so you aren't burning the candle at both ends.

Make the most of your induction

Many people see induction as a mere formality they have to get through but it should be viewed as an opportunity to find out everything you need to know to do your job effectively. So approach it seriously and ask plenty of questions. If you have any concerns about conditions raise them politely.

The first few days in a job can be frustrating as far as setting up email accounts, passwords and similar so be patient. Above all, bear in mind that what you do in the induction is not representative of what you'll do in your position so keep an open mind and don't pre-judge the situation.

Make a good impression

Arrive early on day one and ensure you are prompt and punctual thereafter. Demonstrate a willingness to learn and a positive attitude at all times. Be amenable to those around you and observe any protocols.

Work on building a solid relationship with your manager and start by making sure you are crystal clear on what is expected of you. Elicit feedback on your work regularly and use every opportunity to demonstrate your potential.

Demonstrate that you are prepared to go the extra mile and volunteer for projects or tasks that are above and beyond your remit. Perseverance is key, and while over-delivering won't get you promoted overnight, it will begin to build a sturdy reputation.

If you don’t feel your new role is working out

Request a meeting with your manager as soon as possible rather than letting things fester as your disenchantment will quickly manifest itself and others will notice.

If you’re unhappy try to find out if the job can be shaped, as this is often a way to improve a position that turns out to be more junior that you initially thought. If a job elsewhere seems appealing, assess why and explore the possibility of incorporating some of the duties into your current role.

If, after considering the above, it's clear the job still isn't right, it's important to weigh up the risks of handing in your notice now, or whether a new job should be found first. Either way, make sure that a job has been given a fair chance.

New job checklist

Keep these five things in mind when you begin your new job and you’ll do fine:

  • Do your fact-finding on the company before your first day at work;
  • be prompt and punctual at all times;
  • make sure you know precisely what your manager expects of you;
  • show you are prepared to go the extra distance;
  • demonstrate your potential and willingness to learn at all times.