Like it or not, the first days at a new job can define the rest of your career at that company. The first day of work is terrifying enough without that thought, but it's important to be prepared so that you can avoid costly mistakes. There's a habit that can help you make a great first impression and help you catch on faster, something so easy you've probably overlooked its importance. Take notes.
Why Taking Notes is Important
Note taking means you don't have to memorize everything you're told at a time when your stress levels are already up. Writing down the details helps your overloaded brain slow down and retain more information. While you jot down highlights, you simultaneously prioritize and compartmentalize what you've learned.
Adults pick up more information if it's broken into chunks over a period of time. Repetition is also key. Unfortunately, the onboarding process at most companies goes at lightning speed. You are handed a lot of information in videos, memos and other formats to meet the needs of the company and comply with federal regulations. Yet, how much of it do you really remember? If you jot down highlights, you can at least refer to them later.
Tips for Taking Notes on the First Day of Work
There's no right way to write down the myriad details associated with your new job. You might choose to write them in short form, noting the most important facts. Use bullets, lists, and other tricks to preserve the details you'll most need to recall.
Handwriting your notes is the best way to keep the information in your brain. If you are a stickler for organization, type them up after your first day of work is under your belt. Studies have proven that handwritten notes help you memorize the details and typing them up is a great way to reinforce that. This is particularly true if you're recording the details of a phone training or conversation.
Handwriting notes during meetings makes it clear that you're engaged and focused, whereas typing them on a laptop may give the impression that you aren't paying attention. Unfortunately, it's far too easy for other participants to assume you're texting or surfing the Internet.
Stick to the Basics
Try not to give in to the temptation to write down everything. This can give off the impression that you're compulsive or manic. The first day of work at your new job is also about forging relationships, so give most of your attention to the people around you.
How to Use Your Notes
When you have downtime, refer to your notes several times and, when appropriate, fill in your gaps of knowledge or memory by asking your coworkers for help. If you do this often the first few weeks of a new job, you'll feel confident when you need that information at the tip of your tongue. Use your notes, or take new ones, to familiarize yourself with the policies of the company as well as your specific job guidelines and expectations.
Take notes all the time. You should always have a pad and pen in your hand on the way to a meeting. Maybe companies ban laptops during critical team meetings to make sure everyone is engaged and focused. In that case, your pad and pen are your only alternative for getting down the details.
Note taking on your first day of work at a new job helps you calm your brain and focus on the onboarding process. However, it's also a critical skill that can impact your entire career. People respect coworkers who don't have to be told repeatedly how to do a task, so get into one of the most valuable habits you can develop and -- write it down. Another tip is to pre-order our salary guide. This guide will give you a clear indication of your market value and how much you are worth in the eyes of an organization.