Congratulations to you! You made it through the career fair, passed both the phone interview and face-to-face interviews and now have been offered the job you’ve been waiting for. You may be thinking, “I got the job! Now what?” Your first year on the job is critical to the foundation of your success. Some employers call it onboarding, utilizing a structured development plan for each new hire. Others simply put you through a basic orientation, leaving the rest of the work up to you.
In every new career, there are a few ways a person can position themselves for success. Here are 10 simple rules that I’ve learned along the way:
1. Ask Questions – asking a question is something that almost everyone has trouble doing as a new hire. We have the mindset that we are expected to know everything on the first day on the job. FALSE! Ask questions. If you don’t know the answer, don’t make one up. Instead, say “I don’t know, but can get that answer for you”.
2. Find a Mentor – finding a mentor(s) will help you understand the business better, learning from another person’s perspective and experience. Ask them questions about how they got to where they are today, what their stumbling blocks were, and how they overcame those challenges. (For more on mentorship, check out a previous post here: The Importance of Finding a Mentor)
3. Set Goals – setting goals, both professionally and personally are key to one’s success. After all, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? I would suggest setting 12 month, 2 year and 3-5 year goals that are challenging, but realistic. Adjusting your goals throughout your career is common.
4. Know Your Job – knowing your job first before stepping outside of your comfort zone will help build your credibility. Before you jump into a new venture and take a big risk, make sure that you know your job (not just know, but do) better than anyone else.
5. Be Respectful – be respectful of others’ ideas. If someone has a better idea than you, acknowledge that. A little humility and transparency goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your ideas, but if someone has a better one, let them know you know it is.
6. Pay It Forward – it sounds cliché, but pay it forward. Don’t just ask people to help you, ask how you can help them. We seem to focus on the bad things that happen rather than the good things. When something good happens, pay it forward. Smile at someone you don’t know or do something nice for a complete stranger. You’ll feel great afterwards and people will remember you!
7. Thirst for Knowledge – never stop learning. Be a lifelong student. There are lots of articles, blogs, websites, books, seminars, classes and leadership forums that will help you learn more about things that interest you. Many employers offer leadership development classes for employees so that they can continue to polish their management style.
8. Be Authentic – be authentic. Be authentic to everyone, all the time. Maintain your personal brand and don’t try to be someone you aren’t for the sake of keeping up appearances. If respect and honesty are part of your management, you should go far.
9. Build Your Network – never stop networking. Some people think that networking ends once you land the job. It can, but how will that help you the next time? Build your network, maintaining contact with your peers, coworkers, and mentors. Keep up with your contacts, letting them know what you’re doing and how you’re progressing.
10. Add Value – add value every day. Come to work with a great attitude, enjoy what you do, and do it to the best of your ability every single day. Ask your coworkers and managers how you can help them. Give constructive feedback and help your team with changes for the better.
As I have requested before, pass it on and pay it forward. If you know someone that would benefit from these tips, please help them out! Sometimes, it just takes an act of kindness to get them kick-started and on their way to success.
This concludes my very first 4-part blog series, Landing Your Dream Job. We’ve covered how to navigate the career fair, how to prepare for the phone interview and pass with flying colors, steps for interview success, and finally, how to succeed in your new career. I hope you’ve found this information useful and are well on your way to landing your very own dream job. Feel free to connect with me via LinkedIn and Twitter.
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