RECOMMENDED: NEW JOB? 9 WAYS TO ADVANCE FROM DAY ONE
BY GARY BURNISON
Congratulations, you have a new job. Now, it’s time to start thinking about the next one.
No, you’re not looking to jump to a new job right away. But the best way to get your next position is by distinguishing yourself in your brand-new job.
For one thing, it’s always better to have a job to get a job. But it goes beyond that. It’s all about making a positive impression from “day one” that will raise your visibility for greater advancement potential, from stretch assignments to build your skills to future promotions.
Here are 9 things you should do from day one on your new job so you position yourself for advancement.
1. Make first impressions count. When you’re the new person on the job, you’ll be making a series of first impressions with everyone you meet, from the moment you arrive on the premises of your new job. Just like when you were interviewing, you’re going to make an instant impression with everyone you meet. Small things mean a lot: smile, acknowledge people, be polite, say thank you.
2. Be the first one in and the last one out. People are going to watch your work habits from day one. There’s no better way to showcase your work ethic and eagerness to take on challenges than to be the first one in and the last one out. It’s more than just optics--you’re broadcasting your dependability. If you’re there when a problem (or opportunity) arises before or after hours, the team will turn to you to help.
3. Be indispensable, especially to your boss. Regardless of what your job title or technical description says, your real job is about one person: your boss. Your priority is making your boss succeed. Your boss may not lay out specific expectations, goals or instructions. But if you ask clearly, listen intently, and establish early “check-ins” on your progress, you’ll develop a constructive relationship with your boss that’s all about mutual success.
4. Be a learn-it-all. It really isn’t about the money or the title--although, let’s face it, that’s what most people concentrate on. Most important of all, is whether you are going to learn—and how. You need to ask yourself: What will I be learning every day? Will you be given stretch assignments periodically and with some regularity, or will you be exercising the same muscle every day?
5. Be known for expertise that nobody else in the company has. Search for an area or specialty that your organization needs. Maybe you’re the one who really “gets” Excel. Or you figure out a better way to tackle something than the typical time-consuming process. Be known for something and (as stated above), you’ll be indispensable.
6. Network, network, network. You probably networked your way into this new job—meeting with countless people, targeting opportunities, asking for warm introductions to the companies where you wanted to work. Having gone through all that effort, why would you want to stop now? Now that you have a new job, it’s a perfect opportunity to expand your network internally and externally. Focus on how you can help others, and when it comes, others will be more than happy to help you.
7. Don’t engage in gossip or talk poorly of others. This isn’t middle school anymore. While socializing is an important aspect of workplace culture, no one should act like the school bully such as by talking badly of others or gossiping about co-workers. Not only is this childish behavior, but you also may never know who could overhear what you’re are saying.
8. Don’t sap energy, energize others. Working with someone who takes all of the energy out of the room is just as bad as poor management. When collaborating with others on projects, be the person others want to work with. Projects will move more efficiently and be of higher quality when you’re the one creating energy. Be positive!
9. Be all in, all the time; performance rises above the rest. The most important aspect of working on the job is your performance. When first starting out, the pressures of a new position can be overwhelming. By committing 100% to your position, you show that you are willing to put it all in to get the job done.
Advancing your career with a new job is both exciting and nerve-racking. It’s like going to Disneyland and the dentist at the same time. The only way to survive the emotional roller coaster is to buckle up for the ripe, that needs to go fast and strong from day one.
Got a career question? Drop me an e-mail (names will be kept anonymous) email@example.com for consideration in an upcoming column.
For more career advice, consider "Lose the Resume, Land the Job.”
A version of this post ran on Forbes.com.