Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
Whether it’s your first job fresh out of school, a new job mid-career, or the last position in your career, there are ripe opportunities for you when you are starting a new job. It’s a new beginning and you don’t need not bring any negative baggage from your past. You can strategically plan to bring new, smart and wise behaviors.
You can write your script your way! When you are the newbie in the organization you can ask a lot of questions. You can introduce yourself and as a newcomer with a fresh slate, you can create the reputation you want to have.
If you had false starts or some bad professional relationships, here is you chance for positive beginnings.
New jobs truly offer opportunities for new beginnings. If you had trouble with some of your relationships at work before, or made some mistakes on the job, here is your chance to start over.
Here are four things to think about when starting a new job:
- YOUR STORY – How you introduce yourself, your capabilities and interests matters. It should be intentional. Reflect and be ready to talk about what attracted you to the organization and why you are excited at the opportunity to be contributing to it. You also want to talk about your past experiences and or credentials. Again, be deliberate on what you choose to share about yourself. Never say anything negative about your past employers or colleagues. The old adage applies, if you don’t have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all.
- PREPARE SOME THOUGHTFUL QUESTIONS: You want to learn more about this new organization. You want to know where the power lies and how the winds are blowing. You need to find out; what’s happening here! The company and the position are described a certain way when you are interviewing, but once you actually start, you want to probe and learn more. You can ask general questions about what they perceive as the biggest challenges and the biggest opportunities. You can ask them what they see as the success factors for people who do well in the organization.
- FUTURE GROWTH OPPORTUNITIES: You want to find out how you can be of more and more value in the company/organization. It’s good to find out if they have an internal training and development group that you can take classes with. Let your manager know you are interested in growing and learning more; especially skills that can help you advance on the job. Make sure to work hard and work smart to make excellent first impressions.
- NETWORK AND CREATE ADVOCATES: Be friendly, supportive and helpful. Introduce yourself to your peers and other managers in the company. Let people know about your specific capabilities and desire to contribute. If there are any extracurricular activities for the employees such as volunteer days, sports teams, etc., become a part of those and let people see that you are energetic and want to be a part of the fabric of the organizational culture. Watch carefully and try to pick up on the corporate culture to fit in. Notice things from how people dress to the common work hours to how much people share about their personal lives and how they set up their work/life balance. Yes, new jobs, just like new relationships, are the chance to start over thoughtfully and wisely. Learn from your past, bring forward the strategies that helped you get ahead, and shed the behaviors that didn’t support you or your career. Most of all, be deliberate, be open, helpful and focused. As I always say: Well begun is half done! All the best in your new job, Coach Joan