How to nail your first three months at a new job

Since not long ago I have reached the three months mark at my new job myself, I thought it would be interesting to share my experience, and especially to put together a few tips that I have identified as good rules to follow in order to stand out and be set for success when you start at a new company.

 Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Except for the general work-hard advice, I believe there are a few more concrete applicable rules that can help you be well perceived by your colleagues and manager, and get you into a good position even if you are the newbie around. I have applied them in both my jobs so far and I strongly believe they have helped me build trust and a good professional image.

1.Be dedicated (and put time into it)
Everyone says that the first few months are the ones when you have to prove yourself, and this is completely true. Put more work into that deck that you are preparing, read those onboarding materials, do some extra research on your client or just simply spend more time understanding all the aspects, processes and tools of the new company that you have joined. it is not necessarily about spending more time at the office; staying late might not sound appealing and I am definitely not encouraging that, but I strongly believe that coming in a bit earlier than the rest of your colleagues makes a huge difference. When you have some extra quiet time in the morning, you can prepare your day better, get some more important or hard tasks done already or simply take a moment to reflect over what you have learned in the previous day and what you want to achieve in the day ahead of you. At the beginning you can also spend some of your spare evening or weekend time to do some extra work related reading.

Here I have to say that I personally don’t like the attitude of dropping everything and leaving exactly after the eight hours of work, without putting any additional effort in. I would not say it is that much related to the actual time that you spend at the office, but more about the attitude you are displaying and the willingness to learn and do more. Especially at the beginning, there is so much to learn, it is impossible not to want to stay more and read through whatever material you might have just a bit more in detail – or take this as home reading. And this actually takes me to my second point: learn.

2. Learn
The first few months – though it is not limited just to the first months – are all about learning. Learning as much as you can; absorbing all of the information and knowledge around you. Learning about the organisation and the processes, learning about the tools. Combined with the tip number one, this becomes a powerful tool for becoming an expert real quick and even though you have just started. Read all the documentation available, google all those concepts that you didn’t fully get when your colleague was explaining it to you, read industry specific literature or blogs, and I can guarantee you that by the end of the first few months you will have already developed expertise, and sometimes even more than those people that have been with the company for a longer time but have never bothered to be curious enough.

3. Be prepared
Take your time to prepare before any meeting or discussion that you will join. See who the attendees are, what is the objective and the agenda of the meeting and if there is a deck shared in advance, definitely go through it. Put time into it, learn as much as you can and you will get yourself prepared for anything that comes up.

4. Be proactive
A great way of showing that you are interested and committed, and also capable of doing things is to be the one to volunteer for those extra tasks or projects that nobody else wants to take. Firstly, it is a great way of learning more and proving yourself that you are capable of doing more, but also allows you to show that you are interested to learn and take on responsibility. And one important thing to note here is not to be afraid of taking on tasks or new responsibilities. If you are dedicated and you do your best to learn you will be able to carry the task successfully.

5. Always be on time
In line with the point I made earlier, about putting in a little extra time in the beginning, it is extremely important to always be on time for all the meetings and also for starting the work day. As a new employee you have no excuse to be late and if it is indeed an important matter that will make you be late, make sure you are informing about it ahead of time or as soon as you know it.

6. Pause and reflect
Asking for feedback is a little overrated in my opinion. I think it’s great to check in with your manager or colleagues and make sure that you are on the right path and you are working correctly together, but above all it is more important to know your worth before you drown in useless feedback. Let me explain that: very often people – managers/supervisors/colleagues – are not aware of their own limitations or biases and they end up projecting them on you. It’s very easy to get lost in this kind of feedback and that is why it’s very important to be self-aware and be the one setting the bar for the feedback. Pause and take some time to reflect on what you do and how you do it and asses if it is the right thing indeed or if it can be done better or differently. Know your worth and both your strengths and weaknesses, so that you are able to see which feedback is worth incorporating and dismiss the “feedback for the sake of feedback”.

I think the most valuable outcome of the above mentioned tips, is that they help you build a reputation within the company and among your team. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is, because if you position yourself as a responsible, engaged and dedicated employee since the beginning, you will always benefit from this positive image in all of the situations coming up. This can go from having a good leverage for promotions or salary negotiations to getting on more interesting projects, but also having an effortless work relationship with your colleagues.


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