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New job mistakes we all make

15th January 2015

There is plenty of interview and careers advice out there and tips on how to secure your dream job, but what about making sure you keep and succeed in that new role?

The first week of a new job is increasingly important in this competitive jobs market, particularly in new lawyer jobs where people are starting earlier than ever in their career on the path to progression. Here we list some of the main new job mistakes that we all make in that key first week and how to avoid making them in the first place.

     1. Leaving on time

Now no one is suggesting that you stay behind at the office hours after everyone else has gone home, but being the first to get up and leave never makes a good impression. Not only will you display an active work ethic and pride in your work by staying behind a few extra minutes, but you will be able to gauge quickly who are the ones that stay and how they are rewarded for their hard work.

This is also a time where some of the best conversations take place. Careers advice never comes from a better source than that of your colleagues; by spending just a few minutes speaking to your superiors after work hours you can learn where they see you going in the company and wider company goals as a whole, which can only benefit your career prospects.

     2. Not introducing yourself

One of the first steps to make a good impression at your new job in any position, whether that be as an NQ or one of the high-profile company secretary jobs in London, is to make sure you introduce yourself to everyone. No matter whether you think you may be working with them closely in the future or not, it pays to make sure you are seen as a people person. By showing your communication skills and being open with your colleagues you are far more likely to succeed in making a good first impression in your new place of work, as well as making sure people remember you.

You never know, introducing yourself and saying a little bit about your experience and visions for the company could go a long way when it comes to a decision for a promotion. Just make sure that you are an equally good listener!

     3. Trying to work things out for yourself

While you never want to seem incompetent, it always pays to ask your colleagues for help when you don’t know something, particularly if you are new to the role. Through asking questions you save time in the long run through learning the correct way of doing things first time, rather than finding out down the line when you may be expected to know much more.

Just remember common email etiquette when it comes to asking questions. Don’t CC in everyone in the office and don’t ask anyone who will be too busy to answer you. Ask either the person above you or a colleague on a similar footing who may have been working there for longer. Through asking questions you, again, show initiative and a dedication to your work and the company.

     4. Avoiding social situations

You may feel shy or as though you don’t have the time to socialise with your colleagues after work, but this is where contacts are made across departments and professional relationships are often established. Especially in the starting days of your job, it is polite and will often work in your favour if you accept invitations to work drinks or evenings. Use this time to network and don’t be afraid to not talk work; you may find a common outside interest with colleagues that may help others look favourably upon you.

     5. Dress errors

One of the most common worries of starting a new position in a new place of work is the appropriate workwear. Generally speaking, smarter wear is preferable to casual, but be sure to look around during your interview. Were people wearing suits, smart heels and ties? Or was there a more relaxed approach?

A 2012 Forbes article describes it perfectly, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”, this meaning to look at senior members of the company for a guideline. They didn’t get where they are through taking a less than cautious approach to their work attire. You may think it doesn’t matter or even that it is a shallow concept that what you wear to work might affect your chances of promotion or furthering your position, but one of the most important aspects of careers advice comes down to first impressions, and first impressions often rely on non-verbal communication i.e. dress. Studies show that what we wear can have a significant impact on how we feel about ourselves and behave, so dress appropriately for work and the rest should follow, and the right people should notice.

These are just a handful of the common new job mistakes that everyone makes. Think we’ve missed anything vital to keeping that new position? Share your thoughts with other candidates on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Image Credit: Alan Cleaver, Alexander Henning Drachmann, Jonathan Mueller (flickr.com)