The first day on a new job can be full of jitters. Get a jump start, and ease your nerves, by kicking off a relationship with your boss beforehand by sending a thoughtful e-mail before your new role begins.
While you may have many other tasks to do, including submitting your notice with your previous employer, saying good bye to your colleagues, and organizing logistics in your personal life, taking a moment to connect with your new boss reaffirms your commitment and excitement for the position, and sets the stage not only for your first day, but for your career.
Why send an e-mail before you’ve started?
You may have met your new boss during the interview process. If not, the hiring manager has certainly provided him or her with information about you. Either way, you’re no longer a candidate for the position, you’re now an employee, and the first interaction you have can establish the tone, rapport, and relationship you’ll have with your boss while you’re at the organization.
And that relationship can be pivotal to your future success and your engagement, according to Research from Dale Carnegie Training (and others). You’ll want to do everything you can to cultivate a positive relationship with your new boss, and a well-planned, thoughtfully timed e-mail can kick that off.
What to include in your e-mail
- Reiterate your excitement for the start date. Not only does this ensure you’re on the same page, it also reinforces their hiring team made the right decision, and you’re eager to get started.
- Ask for suggestions for reading material or references you can scan before you start, or share interesting articles you’ve recently read that apply to the role.
- Touch on any skill or knowledge you know is a key component of the role, specifically if you’ll need to polish, or develop, it.
- Make it clear if there is something you would like from your boss, including a recommendation, confirmation, or another action.
- Follow up on suggestions or recommendations. This is critical – you don’t want to ask your boss to invest her time making recommendations only to fail to take them. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your ability to follow through early on.
- Change your style. Ensure your e-mail matches the company tone and the tone you’ve used in your communication to this point.
- Adopt a casual approach. Although you want to beginning building a relationship, you don’t want to lose your professional tone.
- Forget the details. Avoid spelling or grammar issues by proofreading your e-mail. Even if the content of your message is quality, it may send the message you didn’t care about the details.
- Wait until the last minute. Being mindful of your message delivery is as important as your message. For example, sending a note just before business closes on a Friday before your Monday start seems more disorganized than not sending anything at all.
- Bury your e-mail with a generic subject line. Subjects like “Hi” may be overlooked as spam or low priority. Use an action-oriented subject line like “Before I start next week” or “Recommendations Requested” to stand out.
- Forget mystery readers. Any e-mail can be forwarded, so don’t include anything you don’t want the rest of your team to see.
If your start an e-mail dialogue, use this information exchange to understand current projects, critical initiatives, and key priorities for your boss before you walk in the door for your first day. Not only will this give you a jump start on your new role, it may take the edge of your first day jitters.
If you’re not sure where to begin, use this example as a reference.
Subject line: Before I Start Next Wednesday
I am excited to join the team next Wednesday for my first day in the <job title> role.
In our conversations, you mentioned that <skill> is critical to the role. Do you have any resources you would recommend I review prior to my start date background so I can get started quickly?
Also, please let me know if there are specific tasks you would like me to prioritize during the first few weeks in this position.
I am looking forward to seeing you soon.