Educate March 2016

Career Catalyst: Your First 30-60-90 Days


Written By: Craig W. Petrus
With the start of any new year brings the opportunity for a fresh start, a clean slate and the chance to begin yet another journey with positive momentum. The same can be said for when you start a new job. Similarly, a new job offers you the opportunity for a fresh start, a clean slate toward success and an awesome opportunity to be the successful executive you have set out to be. Armed with a positive outlook and great energy, you are ready to show your new company and team members why they hired you in the first place.

So, how can you ensure that you will get started on the right foot? As you know, first impressions are everything, so you want them to be positive. Here are a few tips to make sure your first 30-60-90 days at your new job are positive and set you up for future success.

GET TO KNOW THOSE BELOW YOU AND ABOVE YOU

A great way to learn a lot about an organization is to get to know the people below you and above you (in title) within the immediate department you work in at the company. This is typically called “networking up and down.” Take the time to get to know those around you and what they do, what are they responsible for and how they make a positive impact at the company. A great way to do this is on more of a social level, so offer to take them to lunch, where the environment will be a little more relaxed. By doing this, you will also set a positive tone in the eyes of your new team members, as you will establish yourself as someone who is approachable, social and fun to be around.

You will also want to be very observant of how your new team members interact with each other, what clothes they wear to work (business versus casual) and how they communicate toward senior leadership. It is also important to spend time with your immediate supervisor in an effort to get to know him or her better. Important things to uncover about your new boss are such aspects as type of communication style; whether he or she likes to communicate via email or in person interactions; is there a specific time of day or day in the week when he or she is more readily available to speak with; is the communication style more direct and to the point or more casual? It is also important to learn what the expectations are of you and the position you just started. This will have a direct impact on how successful you are in your new job.

Finally, you will want to seek out an office ally, someone who you feel comfortable with who can show you the ropes and help you navigate your new environment, someone who will be receptive to answering a lot of your questions early on (even those that are awkward).

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

While learning all there is to know about your new company and team member traits, you will want to adapt your style to one that connects well with the new company culture you find yourself in. Uncovering the typical “do’s and don’ts” of your immediate department, as well as company wide, will go a long way toward establishing a positive reputation. As the “newbie,” you really only have one shot at establishing your reputation, so make sure to do a lot of listening, observing and asking great questions.

As you start taking part in company meetings, it will also be important to know who you will be meeting with BEFORE you meet with them. Researching team members via LinkedIn is a great way to learn more about people, what their career and educational backgrounds are, where they have worked and what their areas of expertise may be. Uncovering this information can help initiate conversations and uncover things you may have in common. It is also important to stay current with your new employer. Conduct some research about the company (above and beyond what you found during your interview process, of course) to uncover the latest news and announcements as well as what the media and others are saying about the company. You do not want to be surprised by news that others already may know.

BECOME AN EXPERT

Whether you are entering an industry you have knowledge of or you are entering an industry you know little about, become an expert. You now represent an industry segment and are branded that way, so people outside of your company or circle of influence will ask many questions and want to know more about what you are doing. You want to sound intelligent, right? So, start to follow industry experts and other thought leaders on LinkedIn and Twitter, both of which are great sources of current news. Join associations that are affiliated with your industry in order to follow trends and current events. Attend industry conferences and take part in industry certification classes for additional knowledge.

Don’t hesitate to ask industry questions of those closest to you: your peers. They can offer extensive insight and perspective into your industry, both positive and negative, which can shed some light on areas where you yourself can influence change, make improvements and develop innovative solutions for the better. Ultimately, you want to become a SME (subject matter expert) yourself, so these are great tools to get you there.

The more proactive you become in putting these ideas to practice, the better off your first 90 days on the job will be. Show your new team why they hired you and the value you bring to your new environment, both professionally and personally. Just think, you spend more time at work than you do at home with family, so ensuring you get along with your new family will make all the difference in the world.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CRAIG W. PETRUS joined the Hough Graduate School of Business in June of 2009. As Director, Craig is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Graduate Business Career Services and ensuring the delivery of quality career development programming and services to students within the Hough Graduate School of Business A at the University of Florida.

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