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10 Things You Should Do In Your First Week in IT

10 Things You Should Do In Your First Week in IT
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It’s your first week in the IT industry. This can be an overwhelming time in your career, as there’s so much to learn and a lot to do. Make it easier by learning ten things you can do in your first week in IT.

Learn Who The Key Contacts Are

Every office has a few key people that should be contacted in certain situations. Your manager should be able to help with most of the things that you do in your day-to-day activities.

However, some situations will call for others to help. These kinds of things your manager may not be able to do. What kinds of people are they?

There may be someone on your office that is responsible for fixing the printer when it breaks. The last thing you want is a broken printer when you need to print something important. If you know who to approach to report it, then you send the impression that you can take action and like to get problems solved.

There could be someone else that sets up access to systems, if it’s not your manager. These could be administration systems, workflow, documentation and email systems. Learn who these people are and speak to them if you need to.

There’s often also someone in the office that seems to know who everyone is. The kind of person who you can ask “who should I speak to about…” and they can tell you the answer. This is an important person to know as they can help you get things done easier.

Keep Asking Questions

The first week in any new job is tough, especially in IT. Organizations do the same things differently, and they often run different systems and applications. One way to find out about all of these is to ask questions.

Being the new person in a job means you’ll be asking a lot of questions. You won’t learn everything you need to know on your first day, though. I suggest you continue to ask questions after your first day.

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Ask people how things work, what needs to be done, when certain things happen, where information gets sent, and how things happen. Ask as many questions as you need. You’re the new person so you’re allowed to, and even expected to.

Be Proactive When Introducing Yourself

You’ll be seeing a lot of new faces in your new job. You may have met some people during the interview process and as part of your team on the first day, but you’ll see a lot more during your first week.

Try to take an active approach when meeting new people. There’s not always going to be someone around to introduce you, and if you work in the same office, you’ll probably see them again.

Starting off with a simple “Hi” is enough. You can mention you’re new here and ask for their name, and offer yours. Most people will be pretty friendly to the new person.

If they aren’t, don’t take it personally. They just might be having a bad day. If you stay positive about it, it will be easier to move on from it.

Learn the Unwritten Rules

Every office has a set of unwritten rules. And most offices are different. I’ve worked in a consulting role for the last few years, and have been in many different offices. I’ve noticed they all have their own unwritten rules, which are things that people do but don’t really talk about.

These unwritten rules can include things like:

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  • Who cleans the kitchen? When is it cleaned? Who is responsible for emptying and filling the dishwasher?
  • Is the fridge available for everyone to use? Are there certain sections that are everyone’s food and others that are private?
  • Do you need to book all meeting rooms before using them, or can you walk into it if they are free?
  • What happens when the coffee or tea runs out?
  • What happens when the printer runs out of paper or ink?
  • When and where do people eat lunch? Is eating at your desk acceptable or frowned upon?

It’s a good idea to notice little things like this and see if certain behaviors and events happen. It will make you fit in more and help you become more accepted in your new role.

Keep Track Of Your Accomplishments

Here will be a lot of things that you get to work on at the start of your IT career. This isn’t just in your first week–it applies to your first few months or first year. As the work comes and goes, you get things done, some big and some small. You may have some pretty big achievements in all of that.

When it comes time for your performance review, you’re often asked to list your achievements. Instead of trying to remember them all at the end of the year, I suggest writing them down and keeping a record of them as they happen. This will allow you to add more detail to them, as they are fresher in your mind, and will mean it’s easier for you to complete your performance review later in the year.

Write down small and big achievements. You can always trim the list later in the year if other, better achievements come along.

Organize Your Desk

You’ll most likely be spending a lot of time at your desk, at your computer. Even if you have a job that involves moving around and going to different places, you will probably find yourself at your desk quite a lot.

I suggest getting your desk organized early in your role. This doesn’t mean just setting up your keyboard and mouse. Get yourself some stationery if you need it, such as folders, pens, books, pen holders. If you need some document trays, try to get some of those. Get your phone connected, voicemail set up, and any other cables sorted out.

This will make it easier for you to do your job when you get busy. You don’t want to be figuring out how to get stationery or correcting a voicemail message when you’ve got other things that need to be done.

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Set Up a To Do List

One of the most effective ways to get things done at work is to set up a To Do list.

This is simply a list of things that you need to do at work. It can start small, with only a few things on it, like getting supplies or speaking to someone. As your role grows, you’ll get more work to do and need some way of tracking it.

I personally use Microsoft Outlook’s task feature to keep track of work-related tasks. It’s simple, and all of the places I’ve worked have Outlook installed. I’ve seen other people use Evernote or even a pen and paper. Whatever works for you, as long as you’re writing down what you need to do, you should receive the benefits of it.

Update Your Social Media

Getting a new job is great. It’s a big step in your career. It’s also important to make it known. Not in a bragging capacity, but just to let other people know. This should be done on your social media profiles.

The important one is LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Set up a LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already. If you have, update your title, company and role information. Making sure this is up to date will make it easier to connect with other people.

If you use other social sites like Facebook or Twitter, you may wish to update it there as well.

Learn Your Neighborhood

Where there are offices, there are usually smaller shops around to support them. Near offices, you can find coffee shops for the morning pick-me-up, cafés and sandwich shops for lunches, and even other services such as post offices and pharmacies. During your first week, it’s good to learn where these places are.

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Google Maps is a good tool for finding some of the bigger services. It may not be able to tell you where to find the best flat white coffee, but it can tell you where the nearest grocery store or post office is.

Have a walk at lunchtime or before work to see what’s in the area and what might be worth knowing about. This not only helps when you’re looking for it later, but you can also help when other people are looking for places.

Read Lots of Internal Documentation

Companies often send out internal documentation for their employees to read. This can come in many forms, such as emails, brochures, and larger documents. This documentation is used for many reasons including updating the staff on the latest events, promoting products, or offering  training.

A good way to improve your career and your effectiveness at your job is to read the documentation that the company provides. There should be documentation that relates to your role, such as how things work and how it all fits together.

There could also be other documents worth reading, such as company announcements, process documents and company history. This can make you more educated and informed about the company, which is often a good thing.

Well I hope these tips will be useful in your first week on the job. What other tips do you have for those in their first week?

More by this author

Ben Brumm

Ben is a business analyst and software developer. He shares career advice on Lifehack.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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