6 Unwritten Rules of Starting a New Job

Published: Nov 06, 2018

 Job Search       Workplace Issues       
Article image

When starting a new job, there are certain written policies and procedures that all employees must know and comply with. There are also certain unwritten rules that, if you can master, will lead to promotions, raises, and better professional relationships.

1. Be humble

There can be a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Confident people are naturally magnetic, but nobody is attracted to people who act superior to others. So, ask colleagues if they need help. Offer to get someone a coffee or pick up lunch for a coworker who is very busy. Be kind, and be the first to reach out to learn more about your new office.

2. Engage with colleagues at all levels

Don’t just engage with very senior people and meet people who work outside of your immediate team. The more relationships, the better. Develop a rapport with your colleagues by asking them more about themselves, and try to find where you have similar interests and experiences. Where were they born? Do they have children? How long have they been with the company? Do they have any hobbies? Asking questions will demonstrate that you're trying to make an effort to build a good working relationship.

3. Learn the history

Change can be good, but it's important to understand the history of why certain processes and policies in your new role were put in place. Many people make the mistake of going into a new job and trying to make too much change too quickly. Your colleagues will appreciate that you take the time to understand the history of the organization and solicit their perspective before moving to make significant changes.

4. Identify key decision makers

It’s not just your boss you need to impress. Who are the other people who have input into decisions such as promotion and pay increases? Who does your boss need to impress? These people are potentially the same people you need to impress or the people who will provide you sponsorship later on. When you understand who the key decisions makers are, try to find opportunities to develop good professional relationships with them. This can make or break your entire experience in this role.

5. Get your hands dirty

Get into the detail. Be a person that gets involved in producing work products rather than just telling people what to do. I remember having a colleague who would see an error in a presentation and, rather than making the correction, would spend time sending an email to tell her team member to make the change. This was not only a waste of time but also showed that she was not going to get involved, be part of the team, and get work done. Don't be that person.

6. Confirm your boss’ priorities

Priorities can always change, and you always want to ensure that you're aligned with your boss’s newest set of priorities. Don’t just focus on your work; make your boss look good. Frequently check in with your boss to confirm top priorities, ensure your work aligns with those priorities, and provide status updates on your progress. This is especially crucial when you first begin a job and your boss is trying to identify where you fit on a team. Show her that you fit at the top of the roster by proving your worth.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.