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Career Counselor
Off to a Good Start: Making an Early Mark at Your New Job

October 2008 The first few weeks on a new job are often incredibly exciting, but challenging. You're surrounded by new people, new rules, a new working environment -- new everything. Following are four savvy tips for getting off on the right foot with your new manager and fellow accounting and finance professionals:

Build rapport. It may sound simplistic, but don't underestimate the benefits of being friendly and enthusiastic. Take the initiative and meet as many people as you can. Show an interest in your new colleagues by doing more listening than talking. The goal is to learn specifics about your coworkers' respective roles, how their responsibilities affect yours, and how you can work together most effectively. There's no better way to ensure a smooth future than by immediately building bridges.

Astutely observe the corporate culture. Not every piece of pertinent information is contained in the employee handbook. In addition to reading up on the official policies, identify the prevailing unwritten rules of the road. For instance, do team members tend to communicate via e-mail or in face-to-face meetings? Do people go out to lunch or eat at their desks? Are personal photographs on display? Put simply, take notice and do your best to fit in.

Be inquisitive. Ask questions early and often. You might be hesitant to bother your manager with a query because you're afraid you'll be perceived as uninformed or pesky. Don't fall into this trap. It's far worse to make faulty assumptions and then create a major mistake. When in doubt, clarify details about priorities and procedures. 

Don't burn the candle at both ends. You obviously want to impress the boss, but trying to do too much can backfire. You won't make a positive impression if you stretch yourself too thin right off the bat. Instead of pushing yourself to overachieve, put the focus on getting a firm handle on your core duties and forging alliances.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is the world's first and largest specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. For more information about Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International, visit

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