- Arrive at work on time and review the expected work schedule with your supervisor.
- If you are sick or stuck in traffic, be sure to call.
- Prepare for meetings, respond to correspondence in a timely manner, and practice open communication with your colleagues.
Set realistic goals and expectations
- What are your hopes for your professional development?
- What projects are expected of you?
- Within the first weeks of your job, be sure to establish agreed-upon goals and expectations with your supervisor, and set deadlines.
Develop strong interpersonal communication skills
- Practice active listening with your colleagues.
- Ask questions and invite assistance.
- Use e-mail wisely. Is your e-mail short and to the point? Is your e-mail vocabulary different from Instant Messaging and intelligible to the recipient?
- Avoid sharing sensitive information by e-mail.
- Be aware of times in which a direct phone conversation would be more appropriate.
- Always proofread your written work.
Take the initiative
- Volunteer for new projects with enthusiasm.
- Keep an eye out for interdepartmental projects or teams that will connect you with different departments and people.
- Learn everything you can about the organization by reading e-mail correspondence, studying the organizational chart, and asking questions.
- Find out whether the organization has a mission statement and where you can access it.
Understand your Human Resources benefits
- When choosing a medical plan, consider your needs, your flexibility, and the plan's services and price.
- When choosing a disability plan, consider the differences between short-term and long-term disability.
- Meet with a Human Resources representative within your first few weeks to review the packages.
Learn the office procedures and practices
- Consult the company's training manuals.
- Is there an "open-door policy?" If not, ask what the appropriate process is for handling closed doors when you need to get someone's attention.
- Fill the copy machine when it is empty and restock supplies.
Learn the office culture
- Observe your organization's dynamics and appropriate etiquette.
- Always introduce yourself when you answer the phone and practice friendly and professional customer service skills.
- When out of the office, be sure to update your voicemail.
- What is the organization's policy for attire?
- Watch for unstated assumptions in the workplace. Who are the power-brokers? How are decisions made?
Find a mentor
- Find out whether your organization offers a formal mentorship program.
- Mentors not affiliated with your work can also provide a broader view of your industry and areas of interest.
Seek out professional development opportunities
- Ask your supervisor about opportunities for professional development.
- Join professional associations related to your field.
- Take classes, attend conferences, and consider ways to present your work through publications or at conferences.
- Do not wait for your next job search to update your resume or your portfolio of professional work.
- By keeping your resume current, you will have less difficulty remembering your achievements.