October 13, 2014
Congratulations! You’re starting a new job. Whether this is your first job or you are moving up the career ladder, starting a new job can be daunting. With all the new people, new products and new policies, it can get a bit overwhelming.
Coming up on the conclusion of my own first 30 days at Simply Hired, I can already tell one thing: the first 30 days matter. Here are a few suggestions to kick-start the next stretch of your career:
1. Review your job description
Carefully consider what your job description says and what you learned about the role while interviewing. What do you need to know about the company and the role to be an outstanding employee? Put a list of questions together.
Some questions to consider:
- What are my key projects/goals within the first 30-90 days?
- How does my team work with other parts of the organization?
- What are some of the metrics of success for my team’s performance?
- What can I do in 10 days? Twenty days? Thirty days?
2. Read everything
After your onboarding and orientation process, you generally know what your company does and what you’re going to be doing. Take this a step further. Read any and all available documentation about departmental and company history, processes and policies. If documentation doesn’t exist, do the research, ask the right people for answers and write it yourself.
3. Meet with your manager
Get to know how your work will be evaluated. Schedule a meeting with your manager and go through your duties and mutual expectations. Be mindful of your manager’s communication style. By the end of your first session you should know what your performance metrics are. Don’t forget to schedule a mutually convenient time for ongoing sessions.
4. Schedule one-on-one meetings with your team
A great team works together much like a well-oiled machine. Each part is influenced by how the parts around it move, preventing them from clashing or working inefficiently. Set some time aside, get together with your team, learn about what their roles are and assess where you fit into the machine.
5. Ask questions
Every recent hire has felt the pressure to quickly outpace the learning curve. A little pressure is always good, but don’t feel like you have to know everything. Keep a notebook by your desk and make a list of questions. You’ll be surprised at how many you cross off on your own.
For the leftover questions, find available documentation and do the research. When you have whittled it down to four or five thoughtful questions, ask the right people. Listen carefully to how they answer your questions and where they got the information.
6. Set your personal goals
It can become easy to stay in your comfort zone and shy away from the aspects of your role you are uncertain about. The next time you feel uncomfortable, take a moment to assess that vulnerability. Why do you feel this way about this task? What are the steps you can take to remedy your feelings? Use your answers to set some goals for personal and professional improvement.
7. Maintain a balanced casual and professional attitude
Never compromise your professional ethics. Always be on time to meetings, deliver on your promises and be respectful of your colleagues. Try to contribute to the culture of your workplace. Let the people you work with get to know you. Be yourself, but also be mindful of your professional integrity. Your coworkers should be comfortable both relying on you and relaxing with you.
8. Take a deep breath
It’s easier said than done, especially as a recent hire. The desire to prove yourself in your new role may be compelling, but remember to take care of yourself first. If the list of tasks and new things to learn seems insurmountable, take a deep breath, step back and give yourself a short break to clear your mind. Take a walk at lunch or stop by the gym for a workout on your way home. Make work a comforting and familiar place. Bring a totem to work—something to keep you grounded, perhaps a mug or picture frame.
Your first 30 days are all about being organized. Having a plan will help you create value in the shortest amount of time possible, with the least amount of stress as possible. Good luck! You can do it.