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Navigating The First 90 Days In Your New Job

Career Advancement

Congratulations! You have successfully completed the application and interview process and are ready to start a new job. The first few months will be filled with both excitement and some anxiety as you settle in to your new role. Consider these thoughts to lay the foundation for success.

1) On-Boarding Process: most large companies have a formal on-boarding process for all new employees. If you are in a company that does not offer this, you must take the initiative to immediately ask your supervisor for help getting you the following: access and training on all technology to do your job, an understanding of any available online or paper manuals and tutorials, clarity on office hours, dress code and a phone number for bad weather.

2) Job Descriptions and Goals: Many companies will have a job description that generically illustrates the expectations, but is not necessarily all that is expected. It is mission critical that you make the time with your supervisor to have several discussions on expectations and goals. If you are in a smaller more entrepreneurial environment without formal documents, have regular discussions with your boss to make sure you are aligned.

3) Key Players: Ask for an understanding of the hierarchy in the organization, especially any individuals that you will have regular or occasional contact. Find out their roles, priorities, “hot buttons”, etc. Ask for tips on making good impressions with anyone in a management level higher than your role. Understand the connectivity of “expectations and deliverables” from your role and department to the others in which you interact.

4) Friends and Mentors: Every organization has its own culture, way of doing things and unwritten rules, which can be confusing, even to the long-term insiders. Some companies will have mentor or “buddy” programs to help you navigate the first year. In the absence of this, you will usually find some people that are willing to help you with your questions and confusion. Seek them out as they are an invaluable resource.

5) Ask Your Questions Now: Clearly you need to appear capable and independent, but now is the time to ask questions during this first ninety days. Most people are going to be very tolerant and understand your need to ask many questions in the beginning, as long as you don’t overwhelm them all day long. After ninety days, you will certainly need to ask questions, but it will be expected that the frequency diminishes.

6) Conduct and Etiquette: The workplace today must be free of any personal preferences and focus on the requirements of the organization. To that end, clearly be seen as friendly, but always demonstrate respect and tolerance and not exhibit any personal biases. Stay away from any discussions on politics, religion or any other topic that is not appropriate for work. Don’t e-mail, text, etc. anything that is not appropriate for work.

7) First Impressions Definitely Count: Impressions are formed quickly and take a long time to change, so it’s important to make the initial impression a strong one. Show up 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late. Dress within the dress code, but look sharp. Ask colleagues if you can help them if they appear to be facing a deadline or are under stress. Say hello to everyone with a smile and introduce yourself with a handshake.

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