Congratulations! You finished your degree, tailored and submitted your resume and cover letter for each position that interested you, and made it through the interview process with flying colors. Finally, you are starting a new job.
You’ve put in a lot of hard work to get to this point. So, now that you’re gainfully employed, how do you make the most of it?
According to a recent study, 30 percent of employees leave a new job within the first 90 days. You don’t have to be part of that statistic, though. Here are eight proactive steps that you can take to help you make your mark at work and acclimate to your new job.
1. Get a Head Start
When starting a new job, play offense. While you likely familiarized yourself with the company before your interview, do an additional deep dive before your first day. Learn everything you can about the history of the company and its position within the industry. Make sure you understand how your role fits within your specific department and the company as a whole.
Likewise, you want to be prepared for the logistical aspects of your first day. Give yourself some extra time on your first morning to account for any unforeseeable events, such as traffic or spilling coffee on your favorite shirt. Plan what you are going to wear the night before (and maybe have a backup) and map out your route in advance, leaving earlier than you think you’ll need to. Plan on arriving about 15 minutes early so that you can receive materials like a work badge or parking pass without sacrificing work time, so you can make a good first impression.
2. Pay Attention in Orientation
Depending on your company, department, and role, training for your new job will differ. Some organizations have a formal orientation you need to attend. Some have a rigorous onboarding process that involves being trained in multiple systems and meeting individually with your coworkers. Some have you learn as much as you can on your own before coming to your manager with questions.
Whatever your company’s onboarding process is, you are going to be learning many new things in the first days and weeks at a new position. This is the time to learn about the company policies and the history of the organization, filling in any holes you had from your own research, to build a solid understanding of your workplace and contextualize your role within that framework. The onboarding stage is especially useful for learning about your company’s culture, its expectation of you as an employee, and how you can contribute. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at this stage.
3. Get to Know the Team
Working in a company is all about collaboration. How you form and nurture the relationships with your colleagues can make or break your experience within the organization. Your working relationships will also be more successful if you engage on a friendly level, like chatting in the lunchroom.
During your first few weeks on the job, go out of your way to be friendly. Introduce yourself to your new colleagues. Invite them to lunch and accept lunch offers in return. Every organization has a specific culture and your hiring manager likely recognized that you would fit well within that culture—don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
What’s more, having a positive relationship with your coworkers has more benefits than simply liking the people you spend most of your day with. Research shows that good working relationships lead to improved teamwork, morale, and productivity.
4. Get to Know Your Boss
As the saying goes, people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses. But relationships are a two-way street, meaning you must also put in the effort in order to have a good working relationship with your manager. Not only can this be valuable for your career, since your manager can help set you up to succeed at your company, but it can positively affect your health. The relationship that you form with your boss will be among the most important ones you form during your time at your organization.
Focusing on getting to know your boss right away allows for an open and honest dialogue from the beginning. Ask them about their expectations of you in your position. Learn about the habits and traits they appreciate. Find out how you can alleviate their load by excelling in your role. Also, the more you understand your role and its requirements, the easier it becomes for your boss to recognize your efforts and help you shape your path in the company. Having an amicable relationship with your boss helps them to better guide you. They’ll know how you best respond to feedback, when to give you freedom, and when to lend a helping hand.
5. Learn the Company Social Media Policy
In this day and age, social media can help you land a job—or do significant damage to your career. Depending on the industry you work in, your social media footprint may have little to no bearing on your job. Or, it could come back to haunt you.
When starting your new job, ask HR about their social media policy. Then, screen the applications you use, looking for language, controversial views, and other content that may position you or your company in a negative light. Consider making your accounts private, if appropriate. While it is important to feel you can express yourself, you are now an ambassador of your new organization. How you portray yourself on social media can impact your company—and your future with them.
6. Play to Your Strengths
Your company chose to hire you because they saw something special in you. As you begin your new job, highlight your strengths and try to demonstrate how they can help your team, and the company, reach its goals.
Maybe you are great at administrative tasks or excel in critical thinking. Perhaps presentations or marketing briefs are your specialty. Partner with your manager to learn how to put your skill set to use. Communicate your desire to drive the business forward—whatever your strengths—and find ways to apply them in your job.
7. Seek Out Training Opportunities
While you’re playing to your strengths, you can also to assess the areas where you can improve. There is always a learning curve when you begin a new position. Fortunately, many companies offer skills building training in a variety of formats—such as tutorials, seminars, or classes. In addition to company provided training, you can take advantage of online courses and or communities where you can hone your skills independently.
As you begin to navigate your new role, take stock of the tasks and responsibilities that seem difficult or new to you. Perhaps you struggle with Excel or are unfamiliar with certain tools and programs your new company uses. Make time to talk to your manager or HR team to find out what type of resources are available to help you learn. Once identified, set aside some time so that you can get up to speed.
8. Find Opportunities to Rise to the Occasion
When you accept a role, your duties are usually spelled out clearly, but you also may have the opportunity to take on tasks that may not fall under your scope of employment. Maybe a small (but important) task needs a fresh set of eyes. Maybe someone is on medical leave and everyone is picking up the slack. As the new hire, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and volunteer for projects or duties that are falling to the wayside.
Being willing to do this will help build a rapport with your boss and colleagues since you will be presenting yourself as someone willing to chip in. By offering your services, you will be seen as a team player, willing to go above and beyond to benefit the organization. You could also end up learning skills that could help you with your own work, setting you up for career advancement. Be sure, though, that you are not overextending yourself—balance is key.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Starting a new job is a milestone worth celebrating一this is a new chapter in your career that can have major implications for your career trajectory. By taking initiative and immersing yourself in your new role and organization, you can maximize your chances of success, both in your current role and subsequent ones. Follow these tips for starting a new job to position yourself as an asset to your new organization.