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5 things to focus on straight after beginning your new job

By Sarah Owens on 09.03.17 in Your Career

How you approach the first two or three months in your new job has a great impact on how successful you ultimately end up being in that role. How much you learn, who you meet and the habits you get into during this initial period has a huge bearing on whether you go on to enjoy many prosperous years at the company or whether you leave deflated after a few sorry months.

A large part of making a success of your new position comes down to common sense - dressing correctly, turning up on time and not ruffling too many feathers - however there are some lesser known, and even lesser practiced, pieces of advice which I've put together below.

Follow these five steps and you'll give yourself a great platform to build upon:

1.    Gauge and then manage expectations

Hopefully you were able to establish and then confirm exactly what's going to be expected of you in your new role during interview, but even if you were it's worth sitting down with your manager and going over some KPIs.

When you start a new job you'll likely be introduced to a number of colleagues, clients and ways of working. It's useful during this fairly tumultuous time - when you're being asked to digest so much new information - to know exactly what matters and what doesn't.

Having an introductory chat with your boss to establish precisely what the business's main objectives are, and how your role feeds into them, will help you to become a success in the long run. Your manager will also almost certainly appreciate the fact that you're taking a proactive approach to the role, and not waiting for people to come to you and tell you what you should be focusing on.

2.    Work on your intro

You should expect, and indeed be glad, to meet many new people over a short period of time after starting a new job.  As we recruit for companies both small and large, we know that new starters are fairly common across the board - with the average worker now staying less than five years in each role - and so it's very helpful to have an elevator pitch prepared to help others remember you.[1]

What key pieces of information do you want people to know? Think about your background and strengths and how these might come in handy to your new colleagues. For example, if you've just taken up a new role as an account handler in a marketing agency then most people would want to know about any experience you have had with similar clients.  Highlight any interesting insider knowledge you might have, any successes - and remember, keep it light-hearted.

3.    Ask questions

Consider the first two to three months in a new role as a honeymoon period of learning where almost no question is too stupid. Your new colleagues won't expect you to know everything - each business is unique and has its own processes, technology and hierarchy - and so you should use this time to on-board as much useful information as possible. This includes introducing yourself to the IT team early on and familiarising yourself with all the different tech - not knowing how to hold a conference call after three months of being there could be a bit embarrassing!

Don't try and announce your arrival by attempting to tackle everything by yourself; this will only end badly. Your colleagues will be happy to get you up to speed, while this also gives you a chance to get to know them better.

4.    Say yes

The best way to have people take notice of you in a new role is to say yes to everything your schedule allows you to; whether that's lunch and learns, socials, training programmes or anything else that might be of value.

Saying yes has the dual benefits of allowing you to learn great amounts while also appearing to be as proactive and positive as possible.  But don't overstretch yourself by responding to every single request for assistance with briefs, costing estimates or time schedules.

5.    Be positive

You can breathe easily. As discussed in point three, when starting a new job you'll be given time and space to find your feet so there's no need to panic. Congratulate yourself on progressing to the next stepping-stone of your career and proactively seek out as many opportunities for growth as you can.

Beginning a new job can of course be somewhat daunting, but if you follow these five steps then you'll be able to look back in a year's time and wonder what there ever was to worry about.