A new year brings new job opportunities for many professionals. Once you have landed a new job it may seem like the hard part is over, but sometimes your first few weeks at work can be very challenging. Follow these tips to get off on the right foot and avoid making common mistakes
1. Remember: you were hired for a reason. You beat out other qualified candidates for this job – that means the person that hired you thinks you are the best person for the position. Have the confidence to know you will do a great job and can make important decisions on your own.
2. Learn from others. You can learn a lot from your successful colleagues and upper management about the organization and leverage that understanding to be better at your job. Therefore, take the time to observe the activities of the organization that may or may not be a part of your direct responsibilities. For example: if you are in fundraising, learn as much as you can about the program side of your organization.
3. Strike a balance between respecting what’s been done and making changes. Unless you are one of the first employees at an organization, there are certain norms that have been established for better or for worse. Don’t begin a new job thinking you are going to change things immediately. Instead, take time to understand why things are the way they are and how you can leverage your organization’s culture to enhance your performance.
4. Meet one on one with everyone you will work with. From the intern to the top executive, never assume that you won’t interact with someone or that their advice will not be helpful. Everybody’s work (and opinion of you) matters, especially in a small office. When meeting learn about what brought them to the organization, their role, and how you can best work together. Make sure to write a quick thank you note to everyone you meet.
5. Ask questions. Sometimes people can be so comfortable with a job or work environment that they forget to tell you important things that you need to know as a new employee.
6. Stay away from office politics. The last thing you want is to get involved in the drama of the office. People will surely try to persuade you one way or another, but just simply state that you are here to do your job and don’t know anyone well enough to make judgments about them. Avoid the office drama queen (or king) as much as possible.
7. Even if you are struggling in your new position, give it some time. You never know how things can change, and how responsibilities that seem difficult now may eventually be what you like most about your job.
8. Be yourself. Authenticity is key to not only winning over your coworkers, but also to doing a really great job in your position, and increasing your chances of a promotion. Ask: Are you doing what you love?
For more advice check out this great article by Forbes on how young professionals can rock their new jobs.
Michelle Moran has worked in the nonprofit sector in communications, marketing, and development for more than 3 years, and has been volunteering for as long as she can remember. When she isn’t fundraising, you can find her voluntarily jumping out planes (with a parachute)! Read all of Michelle’s posts for YNPN-NYC.