The first few months on a new job can be challenging – no matter how much experience you have or how perfectly suited you are to the role. You learn new tools and processes, meet new people, and generally face information overload until you get acclimated to the new position. At the same time, you want your bosses and coworkers to see you in a positive light.
I just celebrated my four-month anniversary of working as a Project Coordinator at Boomer Consulting, Inc., so the realities of starting a new job are fresh in my mind. Here are a few tips for succeeding in a new job.
Engage and ask questions
Everyone has to ask questions at a new job. For some people, asking questions is scary. They worry about bothering others or looking like they don’t know what they’re doing.
But most managers and supervisors appreciate questions – especially if you show that you’ve taken some initiative to solve your own problems first. This shows you care about getting it right – and it’s better to know the right way to do something than to make assumptions and get it wrong.
Set clear and attainable goals
Take some time to think about what you want to accomplish and the skills you want to learn in your first few months on the job. This might come from the hiring manager’s ideas of what the ideal candidate would bring to the table, your manager’s expectations, or your own professional development goals. Then take action toward those goals.
For example, this is my first project management job, so I’ve been reading books about project management, and I’m looking into project management classes. Another goal is to join a local young professionals group so I can start expanding my network. Both of these goals will benefit my work at Boomer Consulting, Inc. and my career in the long-term.
Focus on the positives
It’s easy to get down on yourself when starting a new job because you feel like you don’t know everything. But it’s essential to keep a positive focus.
I like that the Boomer team starts all of our team meetings by bringing up something positive. Even if your company doesn’t do this, you can practice it on your own by mentioning something positive to yourself at the start of each day or keeping a gratitude journal. Even when things are tough, focusing on the positives can help you pull through.
Find a buddy or mentor
Having a dedicated person to go to for answers to your questions or just to talk is an invaluable resource during the first few months at a new job. At Boomer Consulting, Inc., I have both a buddy and a mentor. I meet with my mentor every week to talk about my goals.
My buddy answers random questions, helps if I’m struggling with the workload or points me to outside resources. Both of these people help me feel like a valuable part of the team.
If your company offers a mentor program or assigns a buddy, definitely take advantage! Having access to people who know the company inside and out can help you avoid stress and feelings of overwhelm while you get acclimated.
Take time for yourself
If you have time between jobs, try to get caught up on personal tasks, so you’re not struggling to handle personal errands while adjusting to a new job. Even if you don’t have time between jobs, remember to take time to relax and breathe. You don’t need to spend every waking hour being productive or learn everything there is to know within the first few weeks or months.
Take time to rest and recharge. You’ll benefit in the long run if you can manage your energy levels.
You’ll undoubtedly face frustrations and make mistakes as you’re adjusting to a new job. Don’t fixate on the challenges of what you have yet to accomplish. Focus instead on the opportunity and where your hard work will take you. After all, from a pool of candidates, you’re the one they hired. With sustained effort and a positive focus, you’ll be set up for long-term success.
As a Project Coordinator for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Liesl Walser is putting her passion for planning and organizing to work by planning and overseeing events at the Accounting Innovation Center and supporting, planning and executing projects.
Before joining Boomer Consulting, Inc., Liesl worked in the accounting department of an insurance company and spent five years working across multiple roles at a country club. No matter the position, she enjoys being able to work with people and have a positive impact on their day.