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You’re Hired! Now What? How to Position Yourself for Success in a New Job

7/1/2011 9:07:49 PM

You dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s through a mountain of application paperwork, sweated through multiple interviews, and waited anxiously for the phone to ring. Now, all your hard work has paid off and you’ve landed the job. Congratulations are definitely in order; you’ve made it through the most nerve-wracking part of job search process -- but you’re not out of the woods yet.

According to career guru Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, your first days on the job will likely set the course and the tone of your entire tenure in your new role. The way you relate to your co-workers and supervisors -- and how they perceive you -- during this vitally important period of introduction can profoundly impact your long-term career prospects.

Of course, nobody will expect you to function as well as your more experienced counterparts during your first few days and weeks on the job. With any position, there’s a level of competency and efficiency that can only be achieved through the accumulation of on-the-job knowledge over time. For the most part, hospitality industry workplaces don’t expect their new hires to be instant pros.

Still, well before you’re handling your new job duties with the ease of an expert, you can still wow your new bosses and colleagues by sticking to a few easy-to-remember guidelines. Here are some simple but effective steps that will help you establish -- and maintain -- a great first impression from the very beginning.

  • Show Up On Time…Or Better Yet, Early!

    Get things started on the right foot by arriving 10-15 minutes before your first shift is scheduled to begin. Try to predict any problems or circumstances that could conspire to make you late on your first day -- and deal with them well in advance. Consult the traffic report, do a test run on the public transportation route you plan to use, check and double-check your childcare arrangements, pick up your dry-cleaning the day before. There’s no surer way to make your first impression a worst impression than showing up late.

  • Demonstrate Your Willingness to Work Hard.

    Everyone describes themselves as hard workers during job interviews, but now that you’ve landed the job, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Show up early, stay late, contribute fully during your entire shift, transcend the boundaries of your job description to help out others who are overburdened, volunteer to take on extra tasks -- do whatever you can do to prove that you’re willing to put your nose to the grindstone and pay your dues.

  • Play The Role Of An Anthropologist.

    One of the trickiest things to get right in a new role is learning about and adapting to an unfamiliar organizational culture. In your first few days on the job, carefully observe your coworkers to find out more about the dress code, level of formality, team dynamics, strengths and weaknesses, unspoken traditions, and other intangible factors that could impact your success.

  • Balance Ambition with Genuine Warmth and Friendliness.

    It may be tempting to do anything it takes to stand out from the crowd and make a good impression. But be careful not to alienate or exclude your colleagues and co-workers in the process. Remember, solo achievement isn’t everything -- supervisors and managers also consider your skill as a team player when assessing your performance. Be sure to take the time to cultivate friendly connections with your fellow employees

  • Avoid Cliques, Gossip, and Office Politics.

    As you begin to interact with your new co-workers in your first days on the job, you may find yourself being drawn into conversations that devolve quickly into rumors, scandals, and badmouthing. Although the prospect of getting the inside scoop can be sorely tempting, it’s best to avoid on-the-job intrigue and drama. If one of your new co-workers bombards you with some unwelcome gossip, just nod, respond with a noncommittal remark, and remain neutral.

The prospect of starting a new job can be stressful -- but it’s also the beginning of an exciting new phase of your professional life. You’ve already made it through the rigorous screening of the interview and selection process. Just take a few deep breaths, keep these guidelines in mind, and give it your all. Who knows just how far this opportunity may take you?

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