Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. With a fresh set of co-workers to meet and a new company to fit into, learning the ropes might seem daunting, and even stressful at first, but you are not alone. Everyone experiences an adjustment period when taking over a new position.

To ease the transition into a new job, here are things you can do to ensure you are prepared, make a good impression, and catch on quickly.

1. Ask Questions

Create a list of questions to ask your manager or co-workers. You’ll want to have general information, such as break times, where to find equipment, etc. as well as specific questions about the company and your position, such as what is the preferred form of communication, who is responsible for x, and where can I find such and such information?

After the first day, you may have a better understanding of what the company is about, and more importantly, what you want to know more about. Be curious. This shows your eagerness to learn, which in turn, helps you to gain knowledge about the business.

2. Study Up

Information overload is common when you begin a new position and it can be hard to absorb everything right away. Once armed with what you need to know, take notes and memorize them. Read company resources and spend time brushing up on policies, using the company’s website, and learning the internal systems.

3. Find Mentors and Build Relationships

Delight your co-workers by introducing yourself, asking for guidance, and taking an interest in their work. You’ll soon be able to narrow down who is willing to help you out and those that you have a good rapport with. Forging relationships early on is key to building your confidence and forming an identity within the organization.

4. Soak in Your Surroundings

Walk around your workplace and get to know the building and surrounding area. You might be given a tour on your first day, but then it is up to you to remember where things are. Ask a co-worker to show you any of the highlights you might have missed the first time. Notable locales include washrooms, lunch room or cafeteria, offices, board room, supply room, or even emergency exits. Once you develop a feel for your surroundings, you will be more comfortable (and less likely to get lost).

5. Understand Your Role and Priorities

The most important way to succeed at a new job is to understand your responsibilities and the scope of your position. Only then do you know what your objectives are and what to aim for.

Also, find out what your top priorities are. This can help you to manage your time more effectively and establish your day-to-day rhythm. Set up a meeting with your boss or supervisor to go over your responsibilities in more detail. Get clarification on reporting processes, deadlines, and the organization hierarchy if it applies to your work.

6. Observe Closely

In addition to studying company policies, there are some things that you can only learn by observing. See how co-workers interact with each other and their supervisors. Take note of signs on the wall or in the lunch room. While the habits of each employee may not be the same, or even correct, being aware of the company “norms” will help you to find your place and adjust your demeanor appropriately.

7. Stay Positive

It’s easy to get discouraged in a new environment, where everything and everyone is unfamiliar. Remember to keep an open mind and maintain a professional and positive attitude. This plays into making a good first impression, as well as keeps you from falling off the tracks before you even start moving.

If it helps, bring in items that make you feel comfortable, whether it’s a photo of a loved one, a motivational quote, or a favorite book. Whenever you need an extra boost or feel down, pull out your photo or book to refocus.

8. Establish Effective Communication

Building relationships starts with successful communication. While everyone’s preferred form of communication is different, make the effort to check in with co-workers and supervisors, especially if you are unsure about something. Your goal is to be approachable and proactive. Reaching out, even before others reach out to you, can help to develop a greater understanding of the work you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and listen intently during your first weeks.

9. Thirst for Feedback

After you’ve completed work, ask for feedback. Constructive criticism helps to track and monitor your performance and also gives you an idea of how to improve to better meet the expectations of your new position.

10. Get Involved

Are there any employee committees? Is there an upcoming workplace event? Does the office need volunteers? These activities are a casual way to meet others, learn more about the company, and find your fit within the corporate culture.

11. Show Gratitude

Politeness is a quality of professionalism. Let those who help you know that you are grateful for their support and express your appreciation regularly.

Minimize Stress to Make Way for Success

A new job opportunity may spark some excitement along with some nerves. Be aware of these emotions when starting your journey with a new company and work through your fear by learning as much as you can, making a positive impression among peers and leaders, and striving for self-improvement through initiative and a positive attitude.

The transition into feeling like an actual employee comes with time. Once you get over the initial learning curve, only then will you be able to truly know whether you are the right fit or not. Be patient and take each day as it comes, knowing that everyone experiences uncertainty and discomfort at first. Your jitters are normal, it’s how you react to the pressure that defines your character.

What do you do to feel more comfortable at a new job?

Posted by Kristy DeSmit

Kristy is a blogger, Twitter enthusiast, and company legalese interpreter.