Ariette is a Political Science student at the University of British Columbia. She has past experience with Employment and Social Development Canada, and took part in the Business + Higher Education Roundtable’s Student Advisory Board (SAB). We talked to Ariette about how to prepare and thrive during the first week on the job.
What have you done in the past to prepare for your first day of work?
I like to make sure I have read all of the pre-onboarding materials sent to me in advance and to get a good night’s sleep before the first day. When work was in-person, I would also make sure I had proper directions for getting to the office on time and to have an extra notebook on hand. To prepare for remote work, I’d suggest having a dedicated work station set up. Make sure that the equipment you are working with (e.g. work computer, monitors, keyboards) function properly and that your set up is as ergonomic as possible.
What’s the most important thing to do during your first week of work?
During my first week of work, I try to:
- Schedule a meeting with my supervisor to discuss what my roles and responsibilities are in greater detail as well as create a work plan;
- Tackle assigned reading material and training modules to better orient myself with the inner workings of the organization;
- Introduce myself to and get to know my colleagues. I recognize this is more difficult to achieve in a remote setting but from personal experience, attending and organizing short virtual “coffee” chats will help recreate some of the lost everyday interactions in an in-person office setting.
How do you communicate expectations and general communication best practices with your supervisor?
It is important to sit down with your supervisor to create a work plan early on that not only fleshes out what you wish to achieve for the duration of your work term, but also what expectations the two of you have in terms of communication. It’s beneficial to discuss whether you’d like to have bilateral meetings weekly/biweekly and what methods of communication work best for you both (be it Slack, MS Teams, Emails, Phone calls etc.), especially while working in a remote setting.
Do you have any advice to fellow students on how to get to know the team during the first week?
I would recommend organizing one-on-one meetings with different members of your team to learn about the files they are working on and what their career paths have been like. Get acquainted with them, especially if you are starting remotely. Take advantage of your status as a student to ask questions and learn from the experiences of your colleagues. From my experience, these one-on-one chats can be very eye-opening and engaging.
In conclusion - your first week at a new job doesn’t have to be scary if you’re well prepared. Good luck!