Starting a New Job: What to Do

Starting a new job can be equally exciting and stressful. As the proverbial new kid on the block, you’ll encounter many new processes, policies and people. Because early impressions can be lasting impressions, it’s critical that you get off on the right foot with your boss and accounting coworkers.

Here's some advice on what to do during your first month on the job:

Build rapport.

Show an interest in your colleagues and their work by doing more listening than talking. Be friendly and pleasant to everyone you meet — from the top boss to the IT intern. You never know whose help you may need. Get to know people in your orientation sessions, even those who aren't in the accounting or finance department. By developing camaraderie with other new employees, you’ll immediately gain a few allies who are in the same boat as you.

Read up.

While company handbooks aren’t typically regarded as gripping page-turners, you can’t afford to ignore the content within. Not being aware of certain guidelines or making incorrect assumptions about personal web usage, electronic security or the dress code, for example, can lead to unnecessary headaches. Take some time to get up to speed on protocols and procedures.

Communicate the right way.

Some managers like to discuss every detail of a project in face-to-face meetings; other supervisors prefer to receive quick status updates in writing. Ask your boss to clarify how and when he or she wants to receive information.

Astutely observe.

Because all the nuances of the corporate culture won’t be spelled out in black and white, take note of the unwritten rules of the road. Are mobile devices brought into meetings? Do team members go out to lunch as a group or dine at their desks? Remaining attuned to people’s work styles, behaviors and communication preferences will hasten and smooth your transition. Keep your eyes peeled for potential mentors as well.

Get your priorities straight.

Ask to review your job description with your boss. What is expected of you? What are your most pressing duties? Identify your key responsibilities and then prioritize accordingly. Check in with your manager after a few weeks to ensure that you're still on the same page.

Do you have any other tips for starting a new job on the right foot? Please share!