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How to Prepare for Job Orientation

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Congratulations -- you've landed that job and it's time to get to work. But before you start your primary job, you'll likely go through orientation, sometimes called "on-boarding," and will learn about the policies, practices and benefits offered by your new employer. You can ease the orientation process by taking a few steps to prepare for it.

The Night Before

You've likely met the hiring manager and one or two co-workers during the interview process, but remember that you'll probably meet the rest of your team during orientation. Be prepared to make a good impression by dressing appropriately. Consider how you will introduce and describe yourself, and what questions you might have for your new colleagues. Keep in mind that tours of offices and facilities are often a part of your first day, so wear shoes that are nice yet comfortable. Also, orientations cover a large amount of data, so be prepared to take good notes in order to avoid the feeling of information overload.


Expect to complete a significant amount of paperwork on the first day. Your company's human resources department will require you to complete information related to taxes and benefits. Be sure that you have certain personal information handy, such as your Social Security number and how many personal exemptions you expect to claim on your Form W-4. If offered, you will also be able to elect whether or not you'd like to participate in certain employer benefits, such as a retirement plan and certain types of insurance. If you have been given this material before you start orientation, review it prior to orientation and prepare any questions.

Where You Fit

Orientation is the perfect time to understand how your job role fits within the rest of the organization. Many employers will provide you with an organizational chart, a detailed breakdown of your job responsibilities and some information about the company's history and mission statement. If you are given this information before the orientation period, take the time to review it. Prepare questions related to your department and the overall organization. By getting the "big picture," you will better understand the importance of your role and how it affects the rest of the work community.

Connect with Your Team

Orientation typically lasts more than a day. Many employers view the first month or even more as an on-the-job introduction to your position, the company and your department. According to Belmont University, some of the objectives of a good orientation program are to help new employees feel valued and connected as well as reduce the anxiety and stress of starting a new job. Take advantage of this introductory period to not only learn your job, but to build relationships with co-workers, familiarize yourself with the company culture and understand the expectations of all associates. This will help you work through the learning process of your new position and make you feel like a contributing member of the organization.

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