"You never get a second chance to make a first impression" -- this famous quote may have become a cliché, but it is certainly true. The words never apply more than when starting a new job. If all goes well, a new job will last for years. Setting the foundation for long-term success begins in the first minute of the first day in the office. Here are the five steps you should take if you are about to start a new job.

1. Learn company policies.

Every business has a different set of standards, practices, and rules. Learning the ins and outs of company policy should be one of your first goals as you take up your new post. Your new company might, for example, have different expectations when it comes to dress code than you expect. It's possible that your office won't do everything by the book -- but you don't know that yet. Familiarize yourself with the rules and policies first.

 

2. Determine what is expected from you.

You probably received a job description at your interview, but that doesn't mean you fully understand the details of your position. Talk to your boss and figure out exactly what he or she wants from you. A fleshed-out description of your duties will help you understand how you should be spending your day. Figuring out your role quickly will allow you to become a productive, valuable member of the team as soon as possible.

 

3. Study company culture.

While company policies are explicitly defined, company culture can only be learned by observation. Things won't be done in exactly the same way they were at your old job, so don't assume you know what's going on. Take the first few days to watch the way your coworkers act. You'll start noticing a host of unwritten rules followed by all. Soon, you'll catch on yourself and find you are as integrated into the office culture as anyone.

 

4. Be diligent.

Again, first impressions are hugely important. Getting that first assignment in on time (or even better, early) will set the tone for your entire tenure at your new company. It's probably true that as the new employee, you'll be afforded at little latitude -- it can take new hires a while to figure things out. That leeway doesn't mean you can afford to slack off. Hit the ground running and you'll impress your boss and coworkers, establishing yourself as one of the office's top performers.

 

5. Get to know everyone.

You'll be working with your manager and your fellow employees for a long time. At the least, you should have a healthy working relationship with everyone in the office. Go around and introduce yourself. Figure out what role each person plays in the team, and how your own position interacts with theirs. Talking with your colleagues will help you learn how to do your own job well, so don't be shy.

A new job is a new opportunity. Don't let that opportunity go to waste. Make the most of your fresh chance by doing everything you can, from the beginning, to ensure that your time with your new company is a success.