By Anna Maria MacDonald, Workforce Connection Manager, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin
Job searching is a full-time job. Between researching employers online and networking to filling out applications and prepping for interviews, it can easily eat up 40+ hours a week. But as much work as it is to land a new job, it’s when you start one that the hard work really begins.
The first 90 days in a new position is a time to build relationships and show the hiring manager you are the right person for the job. Although trying to assimilate into a new culture can be overwhelming, it’s also an opportunity to show off your skill-set and establish yourself in the workplace.
Follow these six tips to ace your first 90 days on the job:
- Ask questions before starting – To get an idea of what you should expect from the job, ask questions about orientation and training during your interviews. A good employer will go through the company policies and procedures and provide you with proper training and introductions to the team.
- Make a good first impression – According to research, people judge your trustworthiness within a tenth of a second. While you’re sizing up your new colleagues, they’re also trying to identify if you’re trustworthy, easy to get along with and able to carry your workload. One thing to avoid is gossip. Instead, take the time to get to know each coworker and listen to what they can teach you about your position.
- Meet the team – The most stressful part of starting a new job is meeting your new team. Bruce Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development Model recognizes that groups do not start off fully formed and functioning. He suggests that teams grow through clearly defined stages: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. Through these stages, there’s a shift from groups of individuals to cohesive, task-focused teams.
- Get to know your boss – Every manager has a different communication style. For example, some bosses love face-to-face meetings to discuss projects. If this sounds like your boss, you might consider following up on items in person rather than sending updates in lengthy emails.
- Learn new skills – Chances are, you’ll need to acquire some new skills to be effective in your new position. While some of these skills will come naturally as you spend time on new tasks, you may need a little extra help with others. Free online programs or books can help boost your knowledge and ability to do the job.
- Ask for feedback – A good manager will provide feedback on how you’re doing and if there are any areas you can improve. If you’re not currently getting feedback, don’t be afraid to request a check-in to review your work.
Perhaps the most important advice is to remember to be yourself. Your employer hired you for a reason and has confidence you can do the job. Take the time to get to know your new colleagues and, remember, it’s okay to ask questions. After those first few weeks, you’ll be on your way to being well established in your new position.