Use the First 90 Days to Build Success on a New Job

Whether you’re new to the job market or making the transition from one job to the next, building on the foundation of your personal brand is crucial. In most cases, you can assume that you have about three months to be fully contributing in your new position.

To make sure those three months go smoothly, you want to craft a plan for success before you walk through the door on your first day.

Here are specific ways to demonstrate to your new employer that the decision to hire you was a great one:

  • Create a plan and solve problems. During the interview process, you probably learned of key areas of concern or problems that needed solving. Make a list of those issues and consider projects that can be easily implemented.

    Create a plan that engages other people, shows your skill set, and solves a problem. Tackle the easier problems first and choose ones that show you know what you are doing and build credibility among your peers and with your boss.

    Pulling in other people to help accomplish these first projects shows that you are a team player.

  • Find an ally. In fact, find several allies. These people can show you around, help you with company procedures, tip you off to office politics, and (hugely important!) help you with the copier.

    These people are often found in the support staff or in different departments (where they aren’t threatened by a new employee). Finding someone to show you this kindness is critical to your success.

  • Define what you need to learn. If you’re in a new company or have been promoted, you probably have a lot to learn. If you’ve been promoted, don’t mistakenly assume that you already know what to do.

    To make effective decisions, you need to learn not just the technical aspects of the position but also the more subtle information, including the company culture, unspoken strategies, and the politics of the organization. Ask your coworkers some key questions:

    • What are the biggest challenges this department is facing?

    • What are some key things you think I should be working on?

    Don’t be arrogant; assume that you have much to learn.

  • Get in alignment with your team. If possible, meet with your team or peers in the weeks before you start your job. This way, you can begin your position before you walk through the door on your first day.

    Building relationships isn’t emphasized in a job description, but poor relationships can make you fail. Let your coworkers know that you are interested in them and that you want to work as part of a team.

  • Track your early successes. Keep a record of what you have accomplished to share with your boss at your 90-day review session. (If possible, try to accomplish an early win that is especially meaningful to your boss.)

In the first weeks of a new position, you’re being sized up by your coworkers. Those judgments form the basis of what people think of you; it can take months to turn around a poor first impression. You have developed your personal brand and have much to be proud of. Walk with confidence into your new job.

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