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How to make your mark in a new job
When you start a new job, you have several things on your mind. And at the top of the list is making a good impression and starting to get things done so that you make it through your probationary period successfully.
And this is all about balance: creating a good impression about you personally, and about your competency and work ethic, without diving straight in and disrupting everything – which might cause problems with your initial relationship building.
From our experience, there are a few key things you can do to give yourself a great start and to establish yourself as a great hire.
Start working before you start working
Once you have accepted your job and have a start date, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the game to see if there’s anything you can usefully do so that you can hit the ground running. This might just be reading up on processes and products, or it might be reviewing your job description and requirements so you can start to plan ahead. You might also want to get a heads up on what’s going to happen during your first couple of weeks, including induction processes and any meetings in the diary that you might need to attend. If you will be leading a team, it may be a good idea to find out who’s in that team, what their roles are and make an early connection with them.
Be ready for your first day
The first day in a new job is always daunting. Most companies will have a plan for your first day – and probably your first week – so you need to be ready to follow that process and to get as much as you can out of it. There are some obvious things to do here, including turning up on time, at the right place, with the right information or documents that you have been asked to bring with you. Be prepared to ask questions of your line manager so that you know what is expected of you and you feel confident about getting on with the job.
Be clear on your role from the outset
Your company may have scheduled a meeting with your line manager as part of your induction. This is a great way to establish the scope of your role, any goals or targets that you will be set, and to see what you need to get on with first. If there’s no meeting planned, ask for one – it’s really important that you start your job with a clear an idea as possible of what’s expected of you.
In addition to agreeing your role and tasks, also book in or agree a review so that both you and your boss can make sure things are going in the right direction.
Friendliness helps you to get over a number of new job barriers, including integrating into a team, making yourself memorable and giving yourself some internal confidence. This can be harder if you are naturally quieter or more self-contained, but smiling, giving your name and having a chat with people in your business will help you to start to feel at home – and it gives a good impression to the people you are going to be working with in the long term.
Set high personal standards
The people who hired you need to know they have made the right decision – and they come to a conclusion pretty quickly. So new starters need to work hard, ask the right questions, be accurate and take advice on board. Don’t tear up the rules from day one – where there are things that you think can be improved, talk to your line manager and always have at least one solution. Show enthusiasm and commitment – you don’t have to work three hours longer than anyone else, but don’t start packing your bag at ten to five, either.
Whatever the seniority of your role, there are going to be questions you need to ask. Always ask them – even if you think they are stupid. It demonstrates that you are keen to get up to speed, and to do your job as productively as you can.
Your new company is likely to be measuring your progress and assessing whether you are a good fit for the role and the organisation – and you should be doing the same. Managing your career means understanding when things are right and when they are not. So if you feel that you are unable to make the mark you want to, or you are uncomfortable with the culture, or the job you are doing is different to the role you interviewed for, talk to your line manager or the HR department. It’s just as important that the job is right for you, as it is that you are right for the job.