6 Things to Do in Your First 30 Days of a New Job
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Jennifer King, an HR analyst at Software Advice, a company that compares and reviews human resources software. King blogs about trends, technology and best practices in HR and career development.
The first few weeks of a new job can be an overwhelming experience for students in online degree programs. In addition to working a new job, online students also are juggling classes and many are responsible for caring for a family. It can be a lot to process.
We’re here to help ease the transition at the beginning of your new career, when a multitude of orientation meetings, training sessions, new hire paperwork and administrative tasks must be completed.
There are six things you can do on your own within the first 30 days on a new job to set yourself up for career success.
1. Think of first impressions.
Before you introduce yourself to everyone, figure out what you’re going to say when you meet them. As the old adage goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Prepare concise responses for anticipated questions about what you were hired to do, what company you’re coming from, how school is going and what your professional qualifications are. Give the people you meet a reason to continue building a relationship with you. Between work and school, you likely have a variety of topics to discuss to build new connections.
2. Understand how you’ll be evaluated.
The responsibilities of the job you were hired for could change by the time you start. Reach out to your manager about what may have changed, and make sure you have a clear understanding of your current role, responsibilities and authority before you take on projects.
Also, find out how you will be measured to determine if you are successful. Ask your manager to define the requirements for success in the job.
3. Learn the business.
Before you can start contributing to an organization, you need to figure out how the company works. What are the business objectives? What’s the organizational makeup of the company? How does your company do business?
Take the time to explore the business to help you understand how your work supports departmental and corporate objectives. According to Tracy McCarty, senior VP of human resources for SilkRoad Technology, that’s the biggest difference between average and exceptional employees.
“The exceptional ones are trying to understand before they make decisions or assumptions about what’s going on in the business,” she says. “The people who ask questions and really seek to understand the business and where they fit in end up being the best employees. The employees who wait for all the information to come to them are going to be average at best.”
4. Interview your boss.
The key to being a successful new employee is helping your boss be successful. Find out what keeps your boss up at night and come up with creative ways to alleviate those worries.
Find out how he or she wants to communicate with you to build a positive relationship. For example, does your manager want to meet in person every week for project updates, or would he or she prefer to receive updates less frequently by email?
Also, ask your boss about goals and objectives for the team. Determine how you can use your skills to help the team accomplish those goals.
5. Be ambitious, but have restraint.
You might be eager to start contributing right away and fixing everything you might see wrong with the organization. That intention is good, but tread lightly. As a new hire, you won’t have the historical context about why a policy or process may or may not need fixing.
6. Be proactive about your onboarding.
If one day of orientation and a meet and greet with your team is the extent of your company’s onboarding program, you need to be proactive with your managers about their training plan and what you need to accomplish in your first 90 days on the job.
All of these things will require extra time and energy on your part, maybe extending beyond the first 30 days on the job. But asking the right questions, building the right relationships, and learning the ins and outs of the business will help you earn credibility and give you the opportunity to add value to your organization faster.
Looking for further advice in your career? Check out Grantham University's Career Center for suggestions on choosing the right career and accomplishing your professional goals. Click on the button below for more information.