The job-hunting experience can be a stressful one: sending out resumes, interviewing, sending out more resumes and interviewing again. It can take weeks, even months, to nail the job you want.
Finally, you get the position you desire. And while you’re a bit nervous in the beginning, the new job begins to feel more comfortable after a while, and you settle in to the routine.
But before you begin to feel too comfortable in your little cubicle, are you sure you’re doing everything you can to hang on to that job? Are you positive that you’re not setting yourself up for future disappointment? Or, are you so consumed with just keeping up with the everyday demands that you’ve failed to plan ahead?
When you begin a new position, you want to be realistic about your career path with that employer. Remember, those with the least amount of time with an employer are often the first ones who are laid off. That’s why it’s key that you prove your worth as quickly as possible, so that you have a better chance of not only hanging on to that job, but of moving up the career ladder.
From the first day you walk into a new job, one of the most important things you can do is to express your willingness to learn. That means that you listen carefully to instructions – from how to operate the copy machine to filing reports with the boss – and take notes. Don’t be shy about asking questions, since it’s much better to get things right in the beginning rather than just trying to learn from mistakes as time goes by.
For example, does the boss prefer face-to-face communication or phone calls and e-mail? Who can you ask about computer issues or how staff meetings are conducted? How should customer questions be answered?
It’s also a good idea to:
· Be observant. To learn how a workplace really functions, you need to not only listen, but look. The boss may have the title, but it might be there are others in the office wielding authority. Be aware of who seems to garner the most attention in the office and in meetings; you’ll begin to get a good idea of the power structure.
· Walk around. Take the time to briefly stop by and introduce yourself to anyone you haven’t met. Learn the person’s name (make a note if you have a bad memory for names). Then, in the following days and weeks, greet the person by name and begin to ask them about their jobs, the challenges they face and how your job affects what they do. As you get to know more people in the office, make sure you keep all interactions positive. Don’t badmouth your old job, people you worked with or make other critical comments. You want to be seen as friendly, professional and open to other people’s ideas.
· Pitch in. Showing that you’re a team player is important in today’s competitive marketplace. Those workers who are willing to pitch in and help out are seen as a benefit the company and other employees. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your job description to show that you’re there to get the job done, and are willing to be flexible.
· Reach out. Now that you’ve landed the job, you need to make sure others are aware of it. Send out notes to your network, and make sure that professional publications post your new achievement. Become active in your field so that your new boss sees you as someone who is well-informed about the marketplace and your profession.
· Grow your skills. Take advantage of any training your new employer might offer, and continue to invest in your abilities outside the workplace. Attend seminars that provide you with new skills, or consider taking a class to further hone your talents. An employee with an up-to-date, valuable skill set will be much harder to let go, no matter the time on the job.
What are some other key career steps someone should take in a new job?