Thursday, May 12, 2011

Make the Most of your First 90 Days on a New Job

The economy – and more importantly the job market – is improving. I heard today that new unemployment claims dropped more than 40,000 from the previous week. For some of you, this may mean returning to work after an extended unemployment. Here are some strategies to make a positive impression and set yourself up for success the first three months at your new job.

> Prior to beginning your new job, research the company, their competition, and needs. Armed with information, you will be able to create positive impressions of your knowledge, competence, and productivity.

> Prepare a rough outline or work plan for your first 90 days. What do you want to learn, what skills do you need to attain, and what will your focus be? Having a plan in advance will keep you on track for success.

> Meet with your boss right away to establish clear expectations, goals, and priorities for your first 90 days. This enables you to ensure you are meeting expectations and demonstrating value. Try to obtain one-on-one time with your boss, not just a conversation in passing in the hallway, in order to set the tone for your relationship.

> Bond with your co-workers, learn their names, and find what you have in common. This will help you to quickly fit into the group and learn more about company culture.

> Try to find a mentor among your co-workers that knows the ropes, can help you understand the company’s methods and procedures, and can further help you assimilate into the culture.

> Don’t try to challenge long-standing policy and procedure right away. Take time to understand why and how things are done before you begin to make changes.

> Read as much internal communication, policy, procedure, and regulation materials as you can get your hands on. Ask questions and learn as much as you can, while always respecting people’s time.

These first few months on the job set the foundation for your future with the company. To reduce your anxiety and stress, be prepared, balance learning with doing, and focus on becoming part of the team.

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