How to Nail the First 90 Days on the Job

During the first 90 days at a new job you are under a proverbial microscope. Here's how to survive, and thrive during the crucial first three months.  Image CredIt: Lacey Seymour Photography

During the first 90 days at a new job you are under a proverbial microscope. Here's how to survive, and thrive during the crucial first three months. Image CredIt: Lacey Seymour Photography

New jobs are exciting, despite all the angst and anxiety that tend to get in the mix.  Being successful in a new job role is more than meeting the team, finding the breakroom and learning stuff about the business. Starting a new job offers a fantastic opportunity to exploit the situation. Yes, I said exploit. And, I meant it.

You can start over, reinvent yourself, change your style, improve your work habits and interact with coworkers much differently than you did in the last office. You can change anything you want as you walk through the door to the new workplace. You will never have a better opportunity to build a strong foundation for work success than during the first ninety days of employment. Your Office Mom has advice in the form of three tips that will help any young professional transition into a new job at a new company.

1.  Develop Relationships

Think of the first three months at a new position as a really long first impression. The opportunity to meet others and develop relationships never gets any easier than when you are the new kid on the block. Granted, learning how to perform the new job is vital, but it’s only part of the equation. It’s important to be a team player, engage positively with others, and refrain from criticizing how things are done until you know what the hell is going on. Your actions determine how others perceive you and that perception is difficult to change.

What to Do: If there isn’t a formal process to meet others ask the boss about scheduling short meetings with key individuals, so you can learn about the company, who does what, and get visibility in the process. If you don't ask, it won't happen.  It’s also important to foster good relationships with your co-workers. You can do so by asking co-workers the right questions during your first week on the job.

Your greatest opportunity to create develop professional relationships and make a positive impression is during your first 90 days on the new job.

2.  Clarify Expectations

Managers often think they establish clear expectations when in reality they are cloaked in generalities, or they only address performance. Expectations go beyond the way a job is performed. It’s important to understand the expectations of how one is to communicate, interact with clients, report bad news, and a multitude of other things.

What to Do: New hires must be inquisitive. Ask questions, and take notes. Ask your manager to clarify expectations, or ask what success looks like. If you get a general response,  ask for specific details and examples. This will help you build a strong foundation for success and get noticed in the process. 

3.  Take Initiative

As much as we want to rely on HR or a new manager to communicate and explain all the nuances of a new role, it doesn’t happen that way. The quality of onboarding programs varies dramatically from one company to the next as do management styles, training programs, and organizational culture. 

What to Do: As a new hire, you can't be a passive bystander. Take notes during training and important meetings. By doing so you retain facts and information more easily, and give the impression you're eager to learn and serious about your new role. Take the initiative to learn about the team, the department, the company and the competition.  Be inquisitive. Ask questions to figure out how things work and ask why, when appropriate.

What has worked for you when you're the new person on the team?

Want more? Related reading:

5 Ways to Make a Great First Impression at Work

8 Ways to Win Over Everyone at the Office