Tips For Your First Job

Last Updated on May 24, 2019 by Estrella

tips for your first job
Tips for your first job. Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst.

It’s your first week at work. You moved to Seattle for a new job. New country, new culture, new language. Exciting and scary, right? Completely natural. To help ease you into your new adventure, here are some tips for your first job. Particularly for immigrants.

Building positive relationships at work

It’s okay to contribute your ideas

In some cultures, employees feel safer about their job security if they don’t express their opinions, especially if they contradict the boss’ ideas. They may carry that attitude into the workplace here.

While not every workplace in this culture encourages open sharing of ideas, some do. They genuinely want to improve the workflow or communication among co-workers. If you work in such a company, and you observe that they do practice what they preach, then go ahead and share your ideas.

Sometimes there are small group meetings to get updates on each other’s current status on projects. And if you have an idea that can help the group or company save time or money, feel free to share it.

You may think that as a new person, you don’t know enough about the company to say anything. However, a newcomer often has fresh eyes. And if your idea turns out to be helpful, you will get noticed. Especially if by using your idea, your department saved money or time. Record the result somewhere. When it comes time for performance review, be sure to include the results that your good idea brought to the company. Don’t worry. It is not bragging. You are simply documenting. This can help you advance in the company.

Build rapport with co-workers

One of my friends tells me that one of her co-workers asks her everyday if he could get anything for her from the cafeteria when he goes to lunch. (She is often working at her station over lunchtime.) She appreciates that so much, even though she never takes him up for his offer. That is certainly a great way to build rapport with a co-worker!

Another way is to bring extra snack from your culture. Food has a magical way of bringing people together. It’s not about how much you bring. Sharing food is hospitable. And that warmth goes a long way to building new friendships.

Volunteer for community projects

There used to be a time when one volunteer in the company would go around to each employee and ask if they want to donate to a certain charity the company supports, such as the United Way. Although it may not be a popular “job”, that volunteer got to meet each and every person in the company. Imagine the connections you make taking on that volunteer role!

Is there project that needs a volunteer? And does it provide the opportunity to meet more people in the company? If so, this could be an excellent way to build your network in the company. And in every department!

These are just a few idea of what to do in your first job. Building relationships with co-workers, contributing ideas that help the company, and expanding your network through volunteering. By being an active contributor to the company, making connections with many people in the company, you’ll be steps ahead of others.

If you find this article helpful, here is one on How to build professional connections in a new country.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email

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