After applying for a job, going through multiple interviews and then negotiating your terms upon receiving a job offer, you might feel like you're in need of a vacation. No luck – things are just getting going. Starting a new job is exciting, challenging and just a little bit intimidating. And the first 90 days of the job are crucial to establishing yourself as a valuable member of the team. Here are tips for making the most out of your first 90 days on the job.
Know What is Expected of You
Before you can impress your new boss and colleagues, you have to know what it will take to do it. That's why the single most important step to making the most of your first 90 days on the job is to have a strong understanding of what is expected of you and how you'll be evaluated. Before your first day, you should already have a good idea of expectations (it should definitely be one of the questions you ask during the interview). And within your first couple of days, depending on the on-boarding process, you should ask your supervisor to reiterate and clarify them. After all, it doesn't matter how hard you work, if you're not working toward the right goals.
Learn the Culture
There's no doubt that technical skill is important to succeeding early on with a new job – that's why they hired you. But how well you fit the company culture may very well cast the deciding vote on whether you remain with the organization for any length of time. During your first weeks on the job, be a keen observer of how things operate. Is there a lot of face-to-face interaction, or do people tend to communicate with instant messages and email? What's the accepted dress code? When do people take breaks? Is it a somber environment, or do coworkers enjoy chatting and jokes? Knowing the answers to questions like these will help you be effective in your new position.
Feedback from your boss and colleagues is important even if you've worked at a company for years. But it is especially important when you're trying to establish yourself in a new company. As you begin to settle in, be sure to periodically check in with your supervisor – in a way that is consistent with the company culture, of course – to see if you're on the right track. And if you discover that there are areas upon which you can improve, don't get defensive. Seek clear answers on how you can improve and, if necessary, ask your boss to clarify what is expected of you.
Beware of Negative Coworkers
As a new employee, you're especially susceptible to coworkers who are unhappy for one reason or another and who are looking for new people to commiserate with. Be polite and friendly, but do your best to steer clear of negative coworkers. The last thing you want is to allow your attitude to be tainted by their negativity. Keep an open mind and form your own opinions.
Never Say 'No'
Bear in mind that a job description is just that – a description. It's not a binding document, and it certainly doesn't limit the scope of your duties once you're on the job. If your boss asks you to pitch in on a project or do something that wasn't spelled out in the description of the job that you applied for, avoid saying "that's not part of my job," or any variation thereof. You want to establish a reputation as a team player whose willing to help out for the good of the team. At the same time, you don't want to overpromise (or destroy your work-life balance). So if you're facing true logistical issues or other conflicts, be vocal about them and try to come up with a plan to address them.
Finally, don't be too hard on yourself. Your new boss and coworkers understand that starting a new job can be an uphill climb – they've all been in the same situation, after all. There will be plenty of challenges, and a few missteps, during your first 90 days on the job. But, with the help of the tips laid out above, they won't prove to be insurmountable.
Luke Roney is Content Manager for JobHero, a free resource that helps job seekers with various steps of the job search process by providing resume samples, cover letter samples, job descriptions and more.