One of the first things people ask me once they get a new job is for advice on what to do to ensure that they are successful in the job and have opportunities for later promotions. I have to admire their passion for wanting to thrive at work and to be viewed in a positive light.

So, what can you do to ensure you keep that job and are viewed in a successful manner? What you most need to remember is that the first few months on your new job really create the impressions people will have of you. So, make those first few months really count – show up every day trying to impress – by your professionalism, hard work and dedication. Some ideas include:

  • Dress for the job. Make sure you dress professionally by examining what other successful people at the firm wear to work.
  •  Develop a plan for the first few months. There are numerous books written regarding the importance of the first 90 or 100 days on the job. So, develop a plan for what you will do for those first days and months and stick to it. You can’t do it all, instead develop some specific goals.
  • Don’t forget that relationships really matter. Take some time to build connections with your boss, coworkers, and staff. Engage in some social activities (e.g., lunches, sports teams, volunteer campaigns, etc).
  • Identify who’s who in your department or organization. Learn the names of staff, coworkers, and bosses. Take the time to learn who your potential allies are. If you have direct reports, spend some time getting to know each one of them individually. Taking the time to learn about others is one of the most important things you can do.
  • Begin networking. Join regional and national professional associations. Set up meetings with others in your firm to learn more about what they do.
  • Remember that you were hired because you are needed. Your boss needs you to be successful so he or she can also be successful. So, think about your job as a way to help your boss. The same is true for your colleagues. Find out what their greatest pain points are – what they really need help with. Then, pitch in and help them out.
  • Show great initiative – come to work early, stay late, ask colleagues and your boss what you can do. Roll up your sleeves to get the job done, no matter what it is. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Go to them and show you are willing to do whatever it takes. This truly separates out the go-getters from the rest of the pack.
  • Display a positive, can-do attitude. Even if others at the firm are negative or have whiny attitudes, you still need to remain positive. Likewise, show respect to your boss, colleagues, customers and staff. Be polite, calm, and professional in your dealings with others.
  •  Continue learning. Set goals for the knowledge and skills you will need to develop to succeed at your job. Maybe you’ll need additional certifications or training. Identify what these are and then draft your learning development plan. Perhaps most important is to enhance your communication skills – writing, listening, and speaking to various size groups. If this is not what you are good at, then put the time and attention into improving these communication skills. They are critical to all employers. Just ask them!
  •  Be open-minded and willing to learn and change. Don’t assume that the behaviors that worked in your last job will work in this job. Be willing to try our new behaviors. Seek feedback from your boss and coworkers and listen to their constructive comments.
  • Try to stand out for exemplary performance in some area. Develop strength in some area the organization values. Whenever I ask CEOs of any size firm what they most look for in their employees, they agree that they want “hardworking, loyal, dependable, conscientious employees who show great initiative’. They will also say these employees are rare and very hard to find. So, if you can stand out from the typical employee in these attributes, you can really make a name for yourself.
  • Secure a few early wins. Think about a few specific areas to show some success in. This enables you to build momentum for later successes. It also helps to build your reputation and credibility.
  •  Get advice and mentoring from the best performers and follow what they do. It’s even better if you can get a few to volunteer to mentor you and show you the ropes. It’s okay to ask for help. In fact, it would be better to ask for help than to act like you already know everything. When asking, make sure to find out the do’s and don’ts of the firm.
  • Be the best in your job as you can be. Keep records of what you have done on the job so you will be prepared to share this with your boss when it is time for your review. He or she may not have seen all of the things you have accomplished.
  • Remember, getting a new job is only half the battle. Excelling at it takes some planning, preparation, hard work and patience. But, the rewards will be worth it!


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