New job nerves. We’ve all been there. It’s a weird combination of being scared but also being excited. Excited to start this new chapter but scared in case you’re no good or the people don’t like you or you don’t like them…With all this anxiety, it can be difficult to remember that the first 90 days in your new job are the days in which you should be cementing the reputation that will stay with you throughout your time at the company. Don’t believe me? According to professor and author of international best seller The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels Dr. Michael Watkins, ‘The actions you take during your first three months in a new job will largely determine whether you succeed or fail’. No pressure.
Here are my top tips to make you stand out (in the right way) at this critical time.
1. Dress the part. As Coco Chanel said (and as repeated in my fave movie Working Girl) ‘dress shabbily and they rememember the dress, dress impeccably and they remember the woman’. Another one you may have heard is ‘dress for the position you want, not the position you have’. No matter how right or wrong it is, the way we present ourselves goes some way to forming others’ opinions of us – both inside and outside the workplace. That’s not to say we need to stick to boring suits with white shirts. Neither does it mean that we need to spend hundreds on a work wardrobe. Just ensure that whatever you wear is appropraite for your work environment, not too big or too small, crease and stain free and well accessorised. Keep your make up fairly neutral so it doesn’t look faded come mid-afternoon and keep your hair tidy (or if it’s messy on purpose make sure it’s messy-tidy). It all sounds fairly obvious but when we’re tired, busy, stressed, can’t be bothered, and so on, these things slip so easily!
2. Network. Making yourself known and making others known to you will help you to settle into the company faster, and will help you to suss out any office politics faster so you can stay well away from the drama. Introduce yourself to anyone and everyone – the person in the office next door, the person in the lift, the person holding the door open for you. Doing so will also have the effect of making you seem friendly, something which people warm to. It also means that when you inevitably have to go and see the IT department for one fault or another, hopefully there will be a friendly face!
3. Question everything. I don’t mean this in an annoying way. What I mean is that companies have processes in place for most things but not necessarily because they are the best and most efficient way of working. If you are being asked to do something by your manager and you think there is a better way, say so. It may be that they’ve thought of it previously and there are reasons that they cannot adopt said method but by showing the initiative to ask, you portray your proactive nature to your manager and show that you are interested in helping the company to improve, you’re not just in it for yourself.
4. Put your hand up. As Sheryl Sandberg (who needs no introduction) says, we deserve a seat at the table. Well, you’re not going to get a seat at the table just by sitting there and waiting for someone to offer it to you. Put your hand up. When there are group tasks, corporate social responsibility opportunities, internal committee openings or even social events and sports teams – make sure you put your hand up. You may not always be the right person for the job but showing that you’re willing to go over and above is something that will stick in people’s minds. In addition, work is always more enjoyable when you do something other than your job*. Remember Google’s 20% time? Most companies actually expect you to do something similar, they just don’t formalise it and add it to your benefits package.
*Note: you still have to do your actual job as well. Sorry.
So, these are my top 4 tips. If you want to learn more about standing out in the first 90 days, you can purchase Dr Michael Watkins’ book here
. Are you starting a new job? Good luck! Let me know in the comments 🙂