In any new job you want to hit the ground running. First impressions do count and future reputation and success can be forged in those early, initial connections you make with people. New colleagues will generally make allowance for nerves and the fact it can take time to find your feet, but it’s still good if you can make a positive impact from the word go.
Proving your worth
You only get a single shot at a first impression, so how should you go about it? You want to appear confident yet not over confident and you want to be talkative but not overpowering. These can be difficult balances to achieve and you shouldn’t expect to wow everyone from the moment you step through the door.
The first 90 days
In a work situation it’s the first 90 days that are all important. It’s reasonable to expect that in any business, new employees should be adding value once they’re three months in. You should be on a steep learning curve and keen to make an impression so this opening period offers the best opportunity to build your reputation and show the company that they’ve made the right decision.
The first 90 days are also important because this is when the initial information gathering takes place. Opinions will be formed on your early exchanges with others and these will be applied to what people think of you. These opinions will form part of people’s analysis of your character and abilities. It’s important that you’re mindful of this as once these impressions are set, they’re difficult to alter.
Three steps to heaven
When walking into a new job, the following three steps are a good starting point to help you to settle in and establish yourself as an important member of the team.
- Tune in to office politics early – There are arguments to say that this should be the first thing that you do when starting a new job. Every workplace will have politics of one sort or another and in every location they will be uniquely different. It’s important to be building relationships from the word go and quietly determining who to get to know, what unwritten rules are at play, the invisible lines that shouldn’t be crossed and how to get things done as you go. Unfortunately office politics are not something that you simply duck out of. Whatever you do they will exist regardless so it’s important to get a handle on them quickly. You might be able to occupy a certain amount of neutral ground but you’ll still need skills that allow you to navigate the choppy waters of office dynamics.
- Prove your reliability – Reliability is essential in any job. It’s even more important when you’re the rookie trying to prove your worth. Be sure to meet any deadlines you are set early on in your new career, as this will help to establish trust moving forward. If you say you’re going to do something, make sure you do it. If there are any doubts about your reliability they will be difficult to shake and it’s less likely you’ll be considered for any big projects that may appear on the horizon too. Apart from that, proving that you are able to produce quality work on a strict deadline is a powerful tool to have in your armoury.
- Be passionate and enthusiastic – Passion, enthusiasm and drive are all good traits to show when starting a new role. Make sure your timekeeping is good and even consider getting in early too. Stay late if you need and don’t leave issues hanging if they can be sorted before the end of the day. Don’t turn down opportunities if they arise but be careful not to accept challenges that you know you won’t be able to deliver. Make use of your new colleagues too. Ask them for direction, clarification and advice, consult them for feedback and engage freely with them displaying openness and trust in them.