You just landed your first full time job out of college. You are ecstatic to be done with the application process, networking meetings, interviews etc. But wait a minute. Just because you landed the job doesn’t mean the work stops here. Now it is up to you to successfully launch your career with your new employer . Follow these steps to insure you hit the ground running and thrive in your new job.
7 Steps to success:
1. Don’t forget your network. Now is the time to reach out to all of those who helped you in your job search. Send a short note telling them of your new job and provide them with your updated contact information. Thank them for their assistance. Make a habit of staying in touch with your network via LinkedIn or email. Think of ways you might help them in the future, (i.e. Provide a job lead, a referral, or an article of interest). The more you nurture your network the more resources you will have at your finger tips the next time you change jobs.
2. Visualize how you plan to meet people. This is critical for establishing your credibility early within the organization. You will be introduced to many new people, so think about what you will say, why you are excited to be there, etc. Be observant in the meetings you attend. Contribute thoughtfully, without stepping on others’ toes. Just like with social networking it is always a good strategy to size up the playing field before you jump in. You don’t want to say something foolish that you might regret later on.
3. Understand the company’s culture. Take the time early on to learn what the company values. For instance, are employees rewarded for team work or meeting deadlines? Do managers and executives embrace an ‘open door’ policy, or do you need an appointment to meet with the VP of Sales? What do people wear? What is the preferred method of communication – email, voicemail or texting? How are decisions made – by consensus, on impulse, etc.?
4. Understand your boss’s preferred work style. How does your boss like to receive communication and how frequently? Does she like regular detailed updates or communication more infrequently when a project milestone is completed? Does she like to communicate in person, by phone, voicemail or electronically.
5. Know the responsibilities and expectations for your job. While you may think it is your boss’s responsibility to spell this out for you, don’t count on it. Ultimately it is up to you to get this information. A good strategy is to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your manager for the first few months on the job. Less frequently after that. As a general rule, larger companies will have more formal on-boarding programs where you will be trained on various aspects of your job. The smaller the company, the more you will need to take a proactive approach to getting yourself assimilated into your new work environment.
6. Build relationships strategically. Find out who the real leaders are in your organization – not necessarily those who hold impressive job titles. You are looking for the influencers who others look to for advice and direction. Who are the thought leaders in your company? One of them could be a potential mentor for you. Who has the best relationships with outside customers? These are the folks you will want to align with.
7. Develop a Career Plan. Don’t expect your boss or the company to take responsibility for your professional development. Career management is all about you taking charge of what you need in terms of new skills, job assignments and training to get you where you want to go. While your boss may set specific performance goals for you to reach, you must also have a master plan including goals which will move you ahead professionally and address your long term growth objectives, regardless of your employer’s intentions. Set SMART goals: Specific, Measured, Actionable, Realistic and Time Bound. Be sure to revisit your goals often and revise as necessary.
Now that you have a game plan for success in the new job all you have to do is execute. “Taking ownership of your career is work, but a valuable and rewarding work that uses the best of all you have to offer”… Janine Moon, author of Career Ownership: Creating ‘Job Security’ in any Economy. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.