Getting a job is a major accomplishment, especially in these tough economic times. But what happens when one gets the all-important job offer and accepts it? Starting any new job can be a daunting task and very stressful for a new employee. As a new employee, one wants to make a good first impression and become a productive employee as soon as possible.  However, it can take some time to get into the swing of things in any new job and IT jobs can be even more of a undertaking.   In addition to becoming familiar with the company itself, IT workers need to be able to provide support the the end-users that use the various information technology systems used throughout the company.  This means they need to have a  know the ins and outs of the various IT systems and procedures and how to properly provide the highest level of support to the end users.

So how does one get up to speed as soon as possible and standout to one’s managers as a great hire? There are several things one can do to learn the nessesary skills as soon as possible and be identified as a standout employee early on in their employment.  It won’t be easy and these come with no guarentee, but this should help one standout from the crowd and quickly acclimate to one’s new position.

1. Ask Questions
The old maxim is that there is no such thing as a dumb question, and that is absolutely true. Even a new employee with previous IT experience has much to learn when starting a new job because each company is unique in which systems they use.  So there is always much to learn, even if they are a seasoned professional.  It is important to ask one’s more experienced co-workers whenever possible.  Not only does it help a new employee learn how to better  do their job, but it shows that they are interested in the position and doing well.  There are times when questions may arise when one isn’t at work or when no one is available to answer it so it is a great idea to keep a notepad or  something handy to write any questions so they are all recorded when the opportunity to ask them arises. Remember what Albert Einstein said, “The only dumb question, is the question unasked”.

2. Take notes
A new employee’s first weeks in IT can make one feel like they are back in school again, learning new systems  and how to do everything they need to do their job properly. It is a great idea to carry around a notebook , a notepad or for the more tech savvy, a computer or tablet to record one’s notes.  Writing notes will help one learn the skills they need faster and  provides a useful reference when one is unsure of something and needs to refresh one’s memory.

This is one place where a tool like Evernote or Onenote shines because it provides one a centralized place to store notes across multiple platforms and can be easily searched, which makes finding information easy.   Whether it’s digital or paper, it’s very helpful to have important information written down, whether it’s the steps for troubleshooting a specific issue, or the contact information for one’s manager to serve as one’s guide when they are still getting the hang if things.   Don’t hesitate to write even the simplest things down so if  there is a rush to get specific information, it can easily be found and used.

3. Read Existing Documentation
Many IT departments have  a Knowledgebase or a collection of articles with the solutions to the most common issues IT departments face. They also often generate other documentation for common issues and complicated processes they need to do. Any written documents are a gold mine of information for new employees and are extremely valuable to read and learn from. If possible, get copies of any documentation possible and keep it organized in a file folder, binder, scanned to a digital copy on your computer and read over it in ones’s downtime or over a lunch break. By reading documentation, one will become more familiar with various concepts and will make doing one’s job easier when the issue arrises.

4. Make Documentation
If no documentation exists for a certain issue, then make it! This goes back to item number 2, Taking notes, and item number 3, read documentation. When learning how to do things, make one’s own documentation at a later time when it is still fresh in one’s mind. Creating documentation helps one review how to do things in their mind and gives them a guide to reference back to if they have a review in the future or have a something to help a co-worker out and build relationships with ones co-workers.

5.  Shadow a Co-Worker
One of the best ways to learn is to watch, or shadow,  someone who has done one’s new position for a long time. Watching someone do things and being able to ask questions about what they are doing as they are doing it is a great way to learn. Shadowing also is a way to get to know one’s co-workers and get to know the people one is working with.  When shadowing remember to: watch, learn, ask questions and take notes. Watching a senior employee can really help ones ability to do their job and provide a role model to look up to.

About the Author

MikeMike Gdovin has been blogging about technology since 2006 on his blog, He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Media from Kutztown University with a minor in Journalism, Public Relations and Business. In addition to blogging about technology, Mike is a video producer, technology consultant and social media expert.