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SFU
Manager of Alumni Relations
SFU Alumni

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out of focus image of a binder and man in the background with the tagline: .... first week on the job?
The overall message though is to try your best to integrate within the organization's culture through observation and your own research.

Many students feel anxious and somewhat overwhelmed with beginning a new position in a new environment. Do you know what to expect? How will you conduct yourself? A previous BOL II cohort were asked how they would prepare for their first week on the job.  These are their thoughts and tips on how to best prepare yourself to make a smooth and comfortable transition:

Research

  • Review your skills: if the job requires any special skills or knowledge that you might be a little rusty on, review them. (Sharon Reilander)

  • Look at the office documents: take a look at the organization’s reports and relevant information that the public does not have access to so you get familiarized with their goals, services and practices. (Corina Stan)

  • Synchronize your schedule: spend more time familiarizing your schedule with the organizaton’s schedule; for example, know when you need to wake up in the morning  and become familiar with the bus schedule. (Andi Saputra)

Observe

  • Discover the rhythm of the environment; how do people prefer to interact and what pace do they keep? (Eckhard Perk)

  • Observe your colleages:  how do they do their tasks and interact in the environment?  You can learn valuable tips and lessons on how to effectively ‘fit in’ with the company and the position. (Lydia Ko)

Communicate

  • Introduce yourself:  meet the other staff and try to obtain a contact list. It can serve as a check list to help you remember who you’ve met.(Eckhard Perk)

  • Ask questions:  if you don't understand, ask!  It is very important that you don't pretend to understand when you really don’t.  If you do, it will soon become painfully apparent that you don't know what you're doing.

  • Identify communication preferences:  observe or ask what type of communication your coworkers prefer. Face to face, email, or phone? (Rosemary Liu)

Organize

  • Organize a schedule for yourself: find a calendar where meetings/training sessions you should know about are listed.(Eckhard Perk)

  • Take a lot of notes: notes can prove to be one of your most valuable resources when you begin working, but even if you never look at your notes again, writing them down helps commit them to memory

Think

  • Embrace new situations: expect it to be different (and maybe a lot different) from what you have expected. (Lydia Ko)

  • Take pride: be proud of what you do and take your job seriously. (Naijuan Jiang)

As you can see, there are numerous tactics you can employ to make a smoother transition into the workplace. The overall message though is to try your best to integrate within the organization's culture through observation and your own research. 

Beyond the Blog

SFU
Manager of Alumni Relations
SFU Alumni
 John Grant pictured while working with Work Integrated Learning (WIL). John completed 5 co-op workterms while a student at SFU. Now an SFU alumni, John is currently the Manager of Alumni Relations at SFU.

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