If you are new to the workforce or returning after a long break, you should be mindful of not making the following common mistakes. You want to strive to make a positive initial impression in your new role.
- Impatience – It is easy to get impatient on a new job but you have to fight the urge to complain. There is a learning curve you have to endure to learn the company, the department, the systems, the products, etc. You have to learn how things get done. Don’t expect to receive the most challenging and rewarding projects first. Even though you talked about them in the interview, you have to learn the basics and prove yourself with your early assignments to earn the more interesting projects.
- Deadlines matter– When a manager gives a deadline, take it seriously. It isn’t a wish list but an expected deliverable. You should work to beat the deadline whenever possible. If for any reason you think you may not make the deadline, do NOT wait until the deadline to let the boss know. Raise the red flag early, express your concern, brainstorm ways to overcome the obstacles. You are not perceived as a hero if you wait until the last minute to ask for help.
- Questions – Do not be afraid to ask questions. They expect lots of questions initially and will be concerned when you don’t ask. The challenge is to ask the same question only once. Take notes. When they explain something write it down so you don’t have to ask again. Identify “go to” resources who can answer certain types of questions for you.
- Be punctual and present – Do not start a new job showing up late, leaving early, requesting time off. Show that you are committed to success on the job and reliable. They need to be able to count on you.
- Pay Attention to the Culture – Observe the culture and adapt. Is it an open door culture where you can pop your head in with a question or are you expected to make an appointment? Do people eat lunch together or alone at their desk? Pay attention to the expected dress code. Don’t be the most casual person in the office. As you perceive who the successful people are, watch and mimic their behaviors.
- Clarify Objectives – Ask for goals. Ask what will be measured. How is success defined in this job? Be sure you know what is expected of you so you can meet and exceed those expectations. If no one tells you, ask.
- Prepare to invest in yourself – you need to allow extra time at the beginning to get yourself acclimated. You may need to do some outside reading or research to get up to speed on various topics in your job, you may need to boost your Excel skills or learn PowerPoint. Take initiative and invest time in helping yourself succeed in the job.