You will be at your peak motivation the first few weeks in a new job. Take advantage of that enthusiasm to learn all you can about the role, the people, and how you will bring value. That first few weeks can make a big difference in how you are perceived and potential projects you will be assigned.
In my career as a manager, I have hired hundreds of employees. When I reflect on why some were great hires, I remember those first impressions – how they started the job. It was often an indication of what their future would be like.
Here are seven strategies that seem to tip the scale, early on, to long term success. You have heard some of these before. Perhaps your parents said some of them when you entered high school or college. When starting a new job, they have great impact on your happiness and success.
1. Come ready to work – everyday. That means be on time, show your appreciation, and perform each task/project the best you can.
2. Be comfortable with ambiguity. You will know less about what is expected and how to get it done than you have in a while. It may be a new feeling for you. Don’t let it slow you down. This discomfort will pass as you gain more knowledge.
3. Trust and be trustworthy. You are joining a group of people you do not know. Assume they can be trusted and deserve respect. When you agree to get something done or help someone – follow through. Behave with respect at every turn. This makes the next two strategies much easier.
4. Ask for help. You are not expected to understand it all at this stage. Asking for help is the best way to know who the experts are. It lets others know you are interested in learning. And it keeps you from making mistakes early on.
5. Be curious. The people you work with will be very important to your success. So find out who they are, what work they do, and their interests. Also let them get to know you.
6. Get organized. You may not have access to the calendar or company systems right away or they may be confusing to use. So create systems for yourself. You want to accomplish what is expected and, with so much coming at you, things easily slip through the cracks. Remembering names of people, hitting deadlines, showing up for meetings, and being responsive will increase confidence others have in you.
7. Communicate. Make sure your supervisor knows the progress you are making toward goals the two of you set together. Project team members also need to hear about your progress and the stumbling blocks you are having.
The right job for you makes a big difference in your life. You enjoy your work and feel better about yourself. There will be a wider circle of people who want to work with you. So set yourself on the right path in the first weeks by consistently using these strategies.