Work Smarter//

8 Ways to Gain Confidence at a New Job

A few small tweaks can help set you up for success from day one.


You’ve finally landed your dream job after attending networking events, connecting with key people on LinkedIn, fielding calls from recruiters and headhunters, surviving grueling interviews, and negotiating your salary. Now you want to back up everything you said during the interviews and prove to the hiring managers that they made a good decision to bring you on board. You might be willing to do just about anything to make that happen.

Well, not so fast. There are critical things that you should do during the first 90 days, and there are things that you shouldn’t do.

Here’s how to set yourself up for success at your new job:

1. Be confident.

Anything other than this will send a message to managers and colleagues that you might not be ready or prepared for the job. Keep in mind; if you are doubtful, then they may end up feeling that way about you, too.  Rather than thinking negatively and undermining your confidence, think about your strengths and all the reasons why you are fit for the job and what you bring to the company. 

2. Give it time.

It’s normal to feel anxious or even uncomfortable at your new job. You don’t know exactly how the new position could end up, so naturally you feel anxiety. Be patient and remind yourself why you accepted the job rather than dwelling on possible regret and thinking about your past job. That’s akin to trying to get to know someone new while still hung up on your ex. There’s a learning curve with a new job so give it time.

3. Understand the culture.

Just as important as it is to learn the job function, it’s important to learn about the workplace culture. So often clients tell me they were let go from a job because they “just didn’t fit in”. This is another way of saying they didn’t understand the culture. Get out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to people. Take initiative, and invite new colleagues for coffee or lunch. So much of what you gain will be through listening so zip your lips and really try to understand the many personalities at your new workplace.

4. Be positive and enthusiastic, and also realistic.

Often new employees make the mistake of saying yes to everything and over-promising and under delivering. It’s better to take on less and get it done right than to take on too much and fail, especially in the early stages. So learn how to say ‘no’ in a respectful way.

5. Set your standards.

Will you stay late and work two hours more than everyone else just to impress the manager? Although this shows great drive and dedication, it can also set an unhealthy standard and your managers might come to expect you to stay late always since you did it early on. It might also be annoying to your new colleagues. So, value your time and also maintain a health boundary between work and home.

6. Take initiative and meet with your manager.

Rather than waiting for the designated review, respectfully ask for one. Use it as a time to get feedback and make any tweaks to how you are working. Waiting six months to get a review is too long and you’ll be too settled into your ways to be able to make effective changes.

7. Keep track of how you spend your days and the things you’ve accomplished.

This will provide data for your manager when it comes time for a review and also help you to stay organized.

8. Know how success is measured.

Understand how your manager measures your success and his or her expectations. Mismatched expectations are so often at the root of many work conflicts so do your part and have a conversation specifically concerning the ways success is measured.

So, as you begin your new job, do so with a balance of confidence, fearlessness, humbleness, and friendliness.

Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days by Jonathan Alpert.

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