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Starting Work
Starting work
Starting a new job can be very exciting.You get to showcase your skills, learn new things and meet new people. Plus you get paid for it!
For some people it can also be a bit scary as you worry if you'll be able to do the job and fit in. But as you learn more about your job, your organisation and the people you work with, you'll feel more comfortable and start to fit in. Sections in this page:
Checklist for starting work
What to expect when you start
Settling in

Checklist for starting work
  • Plan how to get to work and be on time
    Employers expect you to be reliable and punctual. If you have trouble getting going in the morning, get things like your lunch and clothes ready the night before, and get a reliable alarm clock.
  • Plan what you will need to wear
    Make sure it's suitable for your position and workplace.
  • Learn about the rules and regulations of the organisation and stick to them
    Most organisations will have policies in relation to things like workplace health and safety, uniforms, start and finish times, breaks, sending and receiving emails, using the internet, looking after company property, and taking and making personal phone calls.
  • Find out about the job
    Learn about your work environment, the equipment and resources that you will need to use.
  • Ask for help
    If there's anything you're not sure about or need help with, ask. It's best to get it right and your employer will expect you to ask. Don't put unrealistic expectations on yourself.
What to expect when you start
  • Paperwork
    Your first day will probably be spent doing paperwork, learning about the organisation and your job. Make sure you have your Tax File Number and bank account details with you.
  • What you'll be doing
    When you start your employer or supervisor will normally explain to you what you will be doing, how to do it, who to ask for help, the standard of performance and results they expect from you. If you're unsure of anything, make sure you ask upfront.
  • Company procedures
    You'll also be told about or asked to read the company's policies and procedures, such as first-aid and evacuation procedures. Make sure you do this so you become familiar with company procedures.
  • Fitting in
    Employers will expect you to be reliable, punctual, honest, hard working, organised and professional. As a new staff member your employer will be assessing you against these things, as well as how you are going in the job and how you are fitting into the company.
  • Your performance
    If you have been employed on a trial basis only, how you perform against these criteria might determine if you are employed permanently or not. Try to imagine what you would expect from someone if you were paying them to work for you.
  • Feedback
    Many organisations have formal review processes several times a year where staff are given feedback on their performance and how they can improve. How you go in putting this feedback into practice will have an impact on things like whether you get a promotion, a pay rise or the opposite!
Settling in
  • Remember, you're learning and no one is perfect
    Accept and use constructive feedback and criticism to improve your performance and progress your career. In fact, it's helpful to ask for feedback regularly. Always remain professional when you're receiving feedback.
  • Be part of the team
    You're part of a team so respect, support, get to know and learn from your colleagues. One of the main reasons people don't succeed in jobs is because they don't make an effort to fit in.
  • Be flexible and work within the culture of your organisation
    Observe the people who are most effective in the workplace and try to learn from them. You can then use some of their strategies for getting things done.
  • Everyone is different
    Rather than being frustrated by a supervisor or colleague, see it as a challenge to work out how you can both work and communicate better.
  • Always keep your supervisor up to date
    Let them know what you're doing so they can help you and identify any issues you might not have thought of. If you can't make it to work for some reason, let them know as soon as possible.
  • Keep track of tasks you are given
    Always work on the highest priority first. If you need help prioritising, ask your supervisor.
  • Be on time
    Make sure you book any meetings into your calendar so you don't forget.
  • Plan your work schedule
    If you can, spend some time at the end of each day planning and prioritising your work for the next day. That way you are less likely to miss anything and you get the most important things done.
  • Keep in mind that having a job can be fun and very rewarding
    Like anything, the more you put into it, the more you get out. It's important to remember that every job you have can be an opening to a better job, so don't get down if you're not in your dream job right away.


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