New Job? What to do on your first day

By | Dec 8, 2008

So, you’re starting a new job as an Administrative or Executive Assistant.  What do you do to make sure you start off on the right foot and are able to hit the ground running?

First Things First

Your first task should be to sit down with your new boss and find out exactly what he/she expects.  Some of the things to find out are:

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  • Do you need to keep an eye on his e-mail
  • Will you be managing her calendar and if yes, what are her priorities
  • What calls should you always put through, what calls should you screen
  • Do you open all of his mail including items marked personal and/or confidential
  • Does she want to have time set aside every day when there are no appointments
  • What time does he want to take lunch (again, a calendar management task)
  • Does she want you to keep her desk organized (for some bosses this is a must, and others don’t want you to touch their desk)
  • Get the names of the boss’s spouse, children, parents and friends who may be frequent callers.

Set Up Daily Meetings

Each boss is going to be a bit different.  It helps to sit down on the first day and get some clear guidelines on what this particular boss wants.  I also highly recommend having a one-on-one time every morning so you can catch up on what he’s currently working on and what his priorities are for the day.  This is an important daily habit to get into.  You can’t adequately manage his calendar and screen his calls if you don’t have an idea of what is important and what isn’t, and those priorities are going to change from day to day.

Never Bad-Mouth the Outgoing Admin

It doesn’t matter if she was the worst admin ever, if her files were a mess, her procedures scanty, and her professionalism lacking.  For all you know, your boss worshipped her.  If you want to change procedures, never couch it in terms of the old admin’s procedures being lacking.  Just present it as, “This is what will help me do the job.”

Don’t Make Wholesale Changes

Even if you’re convinced that you know the absolutely best procedure for an existing task, don’t make changes immediately.  Get to know the boss and office for a bit before suggesting changes.  There may be reasons the procedures are as they are.  Make sure your reasons for changing it are at least as compelling as the reasons for keeping it the same.

Starting a new job can always be a bit nervewracking.   In my next post, I’ll talk about what you can do as the exiting admin to make your replacements life a bit easier.

So, what do you think are important items to consider on your first day as a new Administrative or Executive Assistant?  Leave a comment and let’s hear your ideas!

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6 Comments so far
  1. Roxie (1 comments) January 1, 2009 7:35 am

    Hi Jodith,
    I’m new to your blog and wanted to say THANKS for this “first day on the job” article. I start my new job as an AA on 1/5/09. I can’t wait but still nervous. Reading your article will help me focus on day 1!

  2. Jodith (189 comments) January 4, 2009 6:25 am

    Welcome, Roxie!

    I’m so glad you found the post helpful.

    Good luck on your first day on the new job Monday! Remember, if you have any questions, you can send me an e-mail any time. I’m also on Twitter and check in there off and on all day. My main account on Twitter is Jodith, so it’s easiest to contact me there.

  3. Ben (2 comments) January 9, 2009 9:20 pm

    Thanks for the tips. It will surely help in my new job as an all around guy in the office.

  4. Jodith (189 comments) January 15, 2009 2:04 pm

    I’m glad you found this helpful! Good luck on your new job!

  5. jobsearch (1 comments) September 21, 2009 11:58 pm

    This post is really nice and helpful. I rememember my first day at my current job and I remember I were sooooooo tense that at the end of the day I barely could talk.

  6. Helen (3 comments) June 10, 2016 8:45 am

    Hi I am really thankful for the tips very helpful, however I feel that it was more geared towards a personal assistant than a general office admin assistant. I start my new job soon and I’m nervous. Thankful for the last tips very important because sometimes you can really think you coming in to fix things when yo ureally need to understand why things are the way they are firstly.

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