You’ve secured an offer and are ready to hit the ground running at your dream job. Congratulations! You might think it’s time to celebrate, and it is, but now is not the time to relax or tone down the hard work. In many ways, your first three months on the job is an extended interview for your employer to examine your motivation and growth, and a critical opportunity for you to cement your place at your new company.
“Employers use the first three months as a trial period to see how well you work with your manager and the team” said xx, a career coach at Lambda School, “They want you to succeed, but also want to build trust and ensure you are working hard.”
Here are six key tips to best prepare for your first three months on the job.
- Ask questions (but don’t repeat them). Being new on a team means you will have a lot to learn. Remember that you will not be expected to know everything, but you will be expected to pay attention. Ask questions to make sure you understand expectations well, and take detailed notes so you won’t ask the same thing twice.
- Get to know your team. It’s crucial in building trust and maintaining good communication, and being the new kid on the block is the perfect excuse to learn about your co-workers. Schedule lunch dates or 1:1’s with people on your team to discover their passions in and outside of work. Maintain good boundaries, but don’t be shy – strong relationships will help you down the road!
- Use 1:1’s wisely. In your first 3 months of employment, you should have a 1:1 with your manager every 1-3 weeks. If you don’t, proactively ask your manager to schedule this. Use this time to share progress updates, confirm priorities, and ask for feedback. Consistency in your meetings will minimize misunderstandings and help build trust as well.
- Don’t get too comfortable. Period. Even if others on your team arrive at 10am, wear team jerseys to meetings, or drink liberally at happy hour, remember that a first impression lasts. What you do now sets the tone for how others view you and your work, and it’s hard to become a leader down the road when others view you as a slacker.
- Push yourself (you can do it)! Is there a project nobody else wants to do? A system you know you could improve? An innovative idea you want to introduce? Go for it and own it – just make sure to get the blessing of any key stakeholders. In no time, your drive and can-do attitude will be invaluable to the team.
- Document everything. Organize your emails and establish systematized electronic folders. Track all your goals, tasks, and accomplishments along the way. Having concrete examples of your strengths, growth, and projects at your fingertips will help you prepare for your first performance evaluation (usually 3-6 months after hire).
With these tips in mind, know that your company hired you for a reason. Rise to the tasks at hand and lean in to the growth and opportunities ahead. Your future is as bright as you make it.