The ACDS Adviser

A man's black hand braced on the ground of a running track.


There’s much more to a job than the work itself

Clint Hankinson,

Director of Marketing

YOU DID IT! After seemingly endless months of research, updating your resume, reaching out to your network, applying for jobs, and interviewing, you landed your new position!

Now it’s time to show your new employer that they’ve made a fantastic decision by bringing you on. Whether you’re working from home, in an office, or in some other setting, you can apply the following tips to get this new job off on the right foot—and to lay the groundwork for succeeding in the next step of your career.

1. Don’t wait. Take initiative on your own onboarding.

Before your first day, research your new organization and become familiar with its leadership and key projects. Learn more about the industry and your employer’s role within it. Ask if there are any resources specific to your organization that you can begin reviewing.

2. Complete all of your HR/payroll paperwork in advance.

Knock out all of the administrative requirements as soon as possible. Unfinished documentation can become a stumbling block, so take care of it quickly.

3. Impress with punctuality. Arrive early on your first day. And always show up on time.

Everything you do at the beginning of your new job sets the tone for your experience there—and for your employer’s experience in working with you. Always arrive shortly before your work day officially starts. It’s an easy way to show your employer that you’re fully engaged.

4. Culture is critical. Understand your team’s culture and assimilate yourself within it.

Be a student of the new culture you’re now a part of. Observe how people interact

with one another, how they dress, how their systems work. Pay attention to the nuances of their common practices and rituals, and work to fit into your new environment. Resist the urge to “change things.” Save those ideas for the future.

5. Know how the company is structured, how you fit in, and how you can advance.

Understand the leadership structure and your own potential career path for advancement. Small organizations will differ greatly from large corporations. Learn who the influential team members are. You may find that significant influence comes from lower levels of the organization.

6. Let your light shine. Exhibit a positive attitude.

Be positive and optimistic. You were hired to make your organization and team better. Be someone that others look forward to working with. A negative attitude will ensure that your new job doesn’t last.

7. Meet with your manager one-on-one your first week. Always communicate with your manager to keep him or her informed.

Communication is critical to ensure that all expectations are met. Meeting with your manager consistently also shows initiative, commitment, and your ambition to succeed. It reassures your manager that hiring you was a great decision, and helps keep him/her firmly in your corner.

8. Maintain open ears and an open mind. Embrace humility.

This is always wise advice in any area of your life, but especially in your work. The older you get, the more you realize what you don’t know. Always practice humility by being slow to speak and quick to listen and learn. Before trying to change things, understand why they are being practiced in the first place. 

9. Focus on your initial responsibilities before requesting outside activities. As

you grow more comfortable, take initiative for new challenges.

Before you ask to expand your role, make sure you’re successfully fulfilling your current job responsibilities. You may not even have to ask. Your manager may observe your work and initiate new projects, skills, or possibly an advanced role. Ultimately, you’re responsible for your own career, so once you’ve achieved excellence in your job, request an additional project that you have a passion for.

10. Build relationships. Initiate lunch with your coworkers. Don’t wait for an invite.

Don’t be the invisible person who stands in the corner waiting for someone to talk to them. Take initiative by inviting a coworker to lunch. You’ll gain invaluable insights into the team, and you’ll make a new work friend. Life is all about relationships, work included. Do everything you can to make friends. And never make enemies.

11. Create your own short-term goals (30, 60, 90 days).

In addition to the goals given to you by your manager, set your own goals for the first few months. Include projects you want to accomplish, skills you want to gain, people you want to connect with. Set your goals in stages so that when you look back over that time period, you can measure your success.

12. Ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Communicate with your manager and ask for feedback on your performance. You don’t want to be a month into your new job and discover that your manager is unhappy with you due to failed expectations. 

13. Reject gossip!

Know that politics plays a role in most areas of life, including the workplace. Negative energy tends to spread much faster and farther than positive energy. Never participate in negative talk or gossip. You can be a team player without joining in on gossip. It will poison your attitude and potentially your work relationships.

14. Keep your private life private. Don’t overshare.

As you build your work relationships, you’ll likely share your professional background, favorite sports teams, activities your kids are involved in, and more. That’s how co-workers bond. Just keep your private life at the appropriate level and don’t make it a common theme in your work conversations. Never bring your personal drama into the office. Always maintain healthy boundaries between work and your personal life.

15. Keep a running list of your accomplishments. Small wins are big wins!

As you achieve your goals and complete projects, keep a list that you can easily reference. Your confidence will grow and you’ll build momentum for future success. Remember that there are no “small” wins. Every victory counts!

16. Update your LinkedIn profile.

After a couple of weeks, when you’re settled into your new role, update your LinkedIn profile to let your network know the great news and celebrate with you. You’ll demonstrate your career success and give a great shout-out to your new employer.

17. Stay active on LinkedIn.

As you grow in your role, share your successes, tips for other professionals, and all of the great things your employer is doing. You’ll build good will for your employer, potentially attract talented individuals to join your team, and demonstrate your own professional growth and expertise. Proactively communicating with and growing your network is critical all of the time—not just when you’re looking for a job.

Finally, congratulations on your new position! Starting strong will help ensure your success in your new role and open up opportunities for advancement. You’ve got this!


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