Tips on Starting a New Job

Starting a new job is like starting off on a trip to a place you have not been before. It takes thoughtful planning and following a good map, GPS or other directions to arrive successfully at your location. Your supervisor and new workplace have been expecting you, developing a roadmap for you to be successful. This roadmap will help you learn about the University of Iowa, your job responsibilities, and how you can contribute to the success of your unit and team. It can also assist you in identifying developmental activities to help you pursue your career interests. Listed below are some suggestions to integrate that roadmap into your journey in your first days on the job.

People

  • Meet with your Human Resources Representative to finalize any employment procedures and documentation. Your HR Rep can assist you with questions you may have about UI policies and programs.
  • Meet with your supervisor to learn about their performance expectations and how your job performance will make a difference to those you serve. Having meaningful work and knowing the impact of your work is an important aspect of being engaged in your employment.
  • Meet with coworkers to help you broaden your understanding of the work in your unit. This is a good time to ask questions that help you learn more about your unit's culture and processes. Be sure to also learn what your coworkers do, and how their work will intersect with yours. Collegial working relationships are another important aspect of a great place to work; seek opportunities to know your coworkers beyond just the work they do.
  • If you have more questions about University services, a good place to begin is the A-Z search.
  • If English is not your first language and you need help communicating with your supervisor and coworkers or with training, you may want to meet with someone from Staff Language and Culture Services.

Activities

  • Familiarize yourself with the equipment, tools, policies and procedures provided to you.  Ask for assistance if you are unfamiliar with any of them. Participate in any required training to be sure you are aware of policies, procedures and safety requirements.
  • Attend department meetings and social gatherings to develop collegial relationships that will assist you in your daily work and future career development. Go to lunch with a coworker.
  • Review unit/departmental newsletters, read the Iowa Now email digest, and other materials to stay informed about news and information in your unit and throughout the University.
  • Use resources wisely and build in 'green’ habits to integrate recycling and sustainability into your workplace.

Successful Transition

  • Ask for feedback about your performance from your supervisor, coworkers, and colleagues. Getting feedback early and often can help you become a valuable member of your work group and the University community. Act on what you hear so your performance and outcomes meet expectations.
  • Initially listen more than talk. It's a great way to learn more about your coworkers, your job, and the University. As you learn about your job, be sure to positively and inquisitively share ideas. We are a learning organization and new ideas are encouraged. We want and need you to contribute to our continuing success.

Career Development

  • Learning and performing your current assignments are critical to your career development. Initially, focus on essential learning and excellent performance in your work.
  • Mentoring, training, and stretch assignments are ways to develop your career. Discuss with your supervisor who in your organization might be a good mentor based upon your career interests. As you demonstrate your proficiency in your position, ask about stretch assignments that can build your skills and demonstrate your strengths. Resources for training are available at the UI Learning and Development web site, and information about developing your career can be found on the Career Development Advising Services site.

Work Life and Wellness

  • Invite someone you meet to have coffee or lunch with you. Having a friend in the workplace enhances the quality of your work life and increases your engagement with your workplace.
  • Starting a new job can be a challenge to your exercise and nutrition routine. Recognizing that your health and wellness contribute to your personal well being as well as your productivity, UI Wellness offers many services.
  • Consider taking the Personal Health Assessment. This tool helps you identify personal lifestyle practices and health history that can impact your health and wellness and provides resources for health improvement.