Starting Your First Job? Make an Impact in the First 30 Days

Business peopleCongratulations on your recent graduation and landing your first full time job! Goodbye college, hello professional world and performance reviews. New jobs can be overwhelming, and your first job may be the toughest because it’s all new territory.

Surprisingly, a new survey found that 77% of businesses expect recent graduate hires to stay less than a year. Even with this potential expectation, show your employer that you are worth investing in.

Here is a primer to begin building your professional reputation. The first 30 days can be critical to your success.

Before You Start

Do your homework.

Maybe it’s been a few months since you interviewed for the job. Bring yourself up to speed. Read recent articles and posts about the company and trends in your industry

Reach out to your department head.

Tell her how excited you are to start the new position. Ask for advice on preparing for the job, including recommended “pre-reading”, dress code, updates in the department, and arrival time on your first day.

Practice your elevator pitch and answers to follow up questions.

How will you introduce yourself to co-workers? What will you say when they ask about your thesis, the graduation speaker, time spent since graduation, your move to the new city, etc. Prepare what you will say so you aren’t caught off guard.

Laura Berger, says in her book Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting your Work and Turning Your Job into Your Dream Career, the keys are building your confidence and “constantly putting yourself out there, failing, and then watching as things eventually work themselves out.”

The First Day and First Week

Arrive Early.

Every office has its own vibe and schedule. Show up early so you can see what time everyone comes in. Better for you to wait for the team than for the team to wait for you. On the first day, leave plenty of extra time…the security desk may not know to expect you.

Pay attention to detail.

Check out your co-workers’ email signatures and voicemail messages. Set yours up the same way. Ask about recommended email alerts, distribution lists, subscriptions to publications, etc. Don’t forget to add your new position to your LinkedIn profile.

Ask questions.

Show that you care about your job. You aren’t expected to know everything, so make sure to ask clarifying questions. Remember, you don’t need to ask your supervisor every question. Your peers can be helpful as well.

The First 30 Days

Take pride in the form and substance of your work.

For assignments, outline your plan and check in with your boss to make sure you are approaching the assignment correctly. Don’t overinvest until you get your supervisor’s nod. How does your department like things presented? Long detailed report or quick summary with bullets? Don’t forget to double and triple check your calculations and proofread your memos.

Embrace feedback.

Take note of feedback. Your supervisor won’t expect you to get everything right the first time, but do your best to incorporate his feedback into your work.

Don’t be a wallflower.

Set up “coffee chats” with every member of your group, including co-workers you may not work with directly. Ask them about their work and hobbies, if there are materials they suggest you read, and for recommendations of employees outside of your group that you should meet.

Look for ways to add value.

Focus on your immediate assignments but try to identify ways to streamline processes and enhance presentations.

Emulate successful co-workers.

Look towards the future. Do you admire a co-worker’s analytical or presentation skills? Take note of what success looks like in your job and in the company, and ask your co-workers to help you hone your skills.

It can take a few months to settle into a new job. Be open-minded and stay positive. Your career is a journey, so enjoy the ride!

This article also appeared on The Huffington Post

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