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Onboarding Advice

Common onboarding advice

Themes from the above resources:

  • Ask lots of questions now! There is no better time to ask questions than when you are brand new and expected to know nothing about how things are done at this company.
  • Contribute to onboarding documentation. This is a great way to begin contributing to your team from day one. As the person to most recently go through onboarding, you are in the best position to know where there are gaps in the onboarding documentation.

    Hopefully your new team has some kind of onboarding materials for you, in the form of a kanban board or documentation. If you find yourself without any onboarding materials at all, here's a great generic board you can use as a starting point. If you're able to customize it to your team and make it available to future team members, that would be a huge contribution!

  • Get to know your team. Hopefully this is built into your onboarding process, but if not, schedule 1-on-1 calls with different people on your team so you can get to know them.

Additional tips for starting a new job

Advice I've found to be really helpful:

  1. Update your resume & LinkedIn with your new job. Once you've landed a job, your resume and LinkedIn are probably the furthest things from your mind, but I highly recommend updating them now while you still have the job description fresh on your mind (and possibly a copy of the job posting). I recommend checking both your resume and your LinkedIn a few times a year and updating as necessary - this way you can always rest assured that you have up-to-date documents. It's also much easier to remember what you've been doing over the past few months than it is to remember what you've been doing over the past few years.
  2. Start a brag doc if you don't already have one. This article goes into more detail, but essentially this document will be crucial for helping you track your accomplishments for professional development, and as a bonus I find that having a document like this is really helpful for battling imposter syndrome!
  3. Get to know your product. Get access to the product you'll be developing, and become familiar with it as a user. Who are your users? Your competitors? What industry are you serving, and is there any industry-specific language or any processes you should familiarize yourself with? (For example, healthcare, finance, and government all have associated jargon that would be good to learn if you're entering the industry.)

Starting a new job is a great time not just to make a good impression and boost your career, but also to set clear expectations and boundaries for yourself. To that end, some less-conventional advice I have:

  1. Take advantage of benefits as soon as possible. It's a good idea to start doing things like requesting a little PTO, putting any learning budgets to use, or scheduling doctors' appointments if you're on company health insurance. Logistically, you want to ensure that you have access to all of these systems and know how they work so you can continue to take advantage of them. Any benefits that you have are part of your compensation, so you shouldn't let them go to waste. Utilizing them from the start helps you both to build the habit of using them and to normalize doing so.
  2. Resist the urge to overwork. When you're new at a job, you probably really want to make a good impression. That's great! But make sure that you're working at a sustainable pace. Whatever bar you set for yourself now is what others will expect from you in the future. If you start off by immediately working through lunch and without breaks until late in the evening, you're setting future you up to look like a slacker for doing anything less. Be mindful about balancing Current You's desire to impress your team with Future You's need for some breathing room and work/life balance.