How to excel in your new job

Skip to:

One of our main goals when we moved to Canada is to have a fruitful career. For many of us, this will require re-learning many things and adjusting to a new workplace culture. These 10 points will help you cope and be on your way to becoming a superstar in your new job:

  1. Observe

    In the first few days, watch and learn how people interact, talk or relate to each other. Note the words they use and their body language. Observe, but don’t be shy – participate. Be conservative about what you say, do and wear, always keeping in mind that you are in a professional setting. Read 10 pointers to help you fit in at work to understand your new workplace better.

  2. Understand the organization

    Know your company’s mission, vision and goals. It is also important to be clear about work expectations (ask for it in writing) and about the criteria by which your performance will be measured. To know more, watch Dr. Lionel Laroche’s YouTube video below on “How to Succeed in Canada”.

  3. Communicate

    Ask questions! Many times, newcomers hesitate to ask questions for fear that they may be seen as incompetent. But pushing on when you are not clear about what you need to do will make you prone to errors. You may even cause damage or unnecessary expense on the company. If you do not speak up, your superiors and peers may think that you do not understand. So ask, participate, share your opinions (but say it respectfully) and ask for feedback. Communicating will help you do your job better.

  4. Keep an open mind

    There will be many instances where you will find yourself comparing your new job to your previous one in your home country. This is normal. However, conditioning your mind to accept that things are not better or worse, just different, will be more productive for you. Make the best of the present situation and adapt to new things. You will realize that keeping an open mind will make your transition smoother and faster.

  5. Be open to learning

    Be a lifelong learner. Continue improving yourself. This does not only mean getting formal courses but improving your soft skills as well. Read Want to get ahead in the Canadian workplace? Be a lifelong learner! to know about professional and personal development programs for newcomers.

  6. Be punctual

    Part of doing your job well is to be punctual – this means coming 10-15 minutes early so you can start your work on the dot. This shows respect for your work and co-workers. As in all other workplaces, it is expected that you attend regularly and give advance notice if you will be absent (and make sure that there is a valid reason for it!). Read What’s the big deal about being on time? Why do you need to be punctual in Canada? to understand why being on time means more than being on time.

  7. Be a team player but focus on individual achievements as well

    Canadian culture is individualistic; it focuses on each person’s contributions. You are expected to work independently. You do not have to wait for your boss to tell you what to do unless a task is beyond your scope of work.

  8. Be proactive

    Show initiative and suggest improvements to contribute to the success of projects. Also, offer help to your team members when you can. This is the best way to fit in and become truly part of the organization.

  9. Know your boss

    The more you know about your boss’s style of management and goals, the better you’ll be able to perform and deliver expectations. This will require active communication. Managers usually have an open-door policy in most workplaces. Take advantage of this opportunity to discuss goals and deliverables. Ask questions and share your concerns or suggestions.

  10. Stay positive

    It can be easy to be demotivated during your adjustment phase but try and stay positive! Focus on the good things about your job. Stay away from negative people and don’t be a complainer. These will only bring you down; it will not solve anything. Focus on the things you have control over (such as yourself) and continue improving. Do your best in your job and celebrate your small successes. Soon, you’ll see your old worries fall away as you become an integral part of organization.

Back to top

Community Resources

Know more about the rights and responsibilities of workers in the article What are employment standards? Also, learn about employment insurance and workplace safety from this site.

Improve your soft skills by learning more about Canadian workplace culture: Canadian workplace do’s and don’ts and Supports to help you in the workplace

Back to top


Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

WorkCom_Before you begin

A woman giving a presentation at work

Thinking about your knowledge and skills is an independent learning strategy. When you think about what you can do and what… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 4

A woman giving a presentation at work

This is our last week of Workplace Communications. This time you are in the driver’s seat. We look forward to your presentation… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 3

A woman giving a presentation at work

We have now reached week 3 of Workplace Communications! This week, we are engaging in a number of activities that allow… Read more »

WorkCom_Week 2

A woman giving a presentation at work

In week 2,  we continue practising working with others by doing a peer review. A peer review helps you develop… Read more »

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.