Starting a new job can be tough, particularly if it’s your first real job in the industry. In just a small window of time, you need to learn how to do your job successfully, in addition to discovering how to fit in at a new company.
How can you do this?
In Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move up at Your First Real Job, author Emily Bennington shares the following tips:
Mind your “-illities”
If you want to become a member of the club, management recommends that you stack the odds in your favor by minding your “-illities” (dependability, reliability, humility, accountability, responsibility, likeability, punctuality, and so on). Until we’ve had enough time to sufficiently evaluate the caliber of your work, our first impressions of you will be based on perceptible qualities, like “-ilities,” we can see for ourselves.
Don’t Expect a lot of Hand-holding
Regardless of where you work or what industry you’re in, there are certain processes, tools, and forms that make up the standard operating procedures of your company. Perhaps you were introduced to these through a very organized, systematic orientation. If so, great—consider yourself fortunate. If not, don’t feel shortchanged or frustrated. Instead, take initiative and master the basics on your own.
Get the Worm
Let’s say your workday begins, by policy, at 8:30 a.m. You’ll probably find that 85 percent of your coworkers arrive between 8:15 and 8:40. Now, if you’re at your desk before 8:00 a.m. (assuming there are others at the office who will see you there), you will suddenly find yourself taken more seriously as a professional. Why? Because perception is reality. We are conditioned to judge people on when they arrive at work and to attribute an extra measure of credit to early birds.
Never Be Afraid to Say “I Don’t Know”
Inevitably there will be instances in which you are asked a question and your mind completely blanks out. You can feel your face turn crimson as you tell yourself you should know the answer—all of it. Honesty…is a huge differentiator. Simply look people in the eye and say unabashedly and with confidence, “I don’t know. Let me find out and get back to you.” Then do it.
Do Feared Things First
Missed or postponed deadlines send two messages: (1) I don’t really care about this job, and (2) Don’t trust me with anything significant. Don’t put off projects simply because you’re overwhelmed or not quite sure where to start. If you need help, ask for it—otherwise, break down big jobs into small tasks and dive in!
Become a Student of the World
Take advantage of every opportunity to travel, particularly abroad. In addition to gaining valuable exposure to new cultures and outlooks, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and develop a sophistication that will help your career. Besides, if you don’t get out of the office once in a while, you’ll become a dreadful bore at parties.
Seriously Grow Your Network
The saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” isn’t entirely true, but there’s a lot to be said for having friends in the right places. In fact, a sound network will become one of the most (if not the most) important business tools you’ll ever have. It will help you:
- Get promoted faster
- Solve problems more quickly
- Dodge novice mistakes
- Find additional information and resources
- Acquire new jobs
- Join a club, council, board, or committee
- Avoid cold-calling forever
What other tips would you add in order to be effective immediately in a new position? Let us know.
About the Author: Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle (2011), #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.